The 4th Sunday of Easter
The Lamb is Our Shepherd
Text: Revelation 7:9-17
It’s dark, isn’t it? The valley. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and it is so dark. The darkness is so thick, sometimes I feel like there is no light in my life at all. The path is rough, rugged, and runs every which way. With with darkness surrounding me, I hardly know where I’m going. I stumble and fall a lot. Even worse, I know as I’m walking through this dark valley that I’m a sitting duck, or a sitting sheep I suppose. I’m an easy target. I’m weak. I’m vulnerable prey. There are dangers all around me. There is darkness all around me. I’m lost. I’m alone. I’m afraid.
Ever feel that way? There’s a reason why Psalm 23 has some of the most popular Bible verses in the world. Even people who don’t believe in the Bible will quote it. Perhaps the most striking picture that people know is in verse 4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” That verse is so popular because all people can relate to it. Read the rest of this entry
1. To see the light
2. To share the light
Text: Isaiah 60:1-6
I can’t stand it. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. Good morning to you. Good morning to you. We’re all in our places with bright shining faces. Good morning to you! Ah! It sends shivers down my spine and makes my arm hair stand up like porcupine needles.
Every day of elementary school, especially on Sundays, I wanted to sleep. I was a growing boy. I needed rest. So when I didn’t listen to my alarm, my mother would call out, “Wake up. It’s time to wake up!” But her soothing voice was like listening to rainfall. I kept sleeping. Next would come the little rub on the back. “It’s time to get up. Wake up, Philip James.” (Apparently I got the full name only in the mornings or when I was in trouble.) But even a pat on the back and the full name didn’t faze me. A simple roll over cured that.
Then the parenting was taken to the next level. The light was flipped on. “Wake up. You’re going to be late,” they would say sternly. But I was equally adept. The pillow and covers went over my head and I was back off to Never Neverland like Peter Pan.
This now is when drastic measures were taken. The song. “Good morning to you. Good morning to you. Rise and Shine!” I’m not sure if I so much wanted to go to church as I wanted to run away from that song, but I was up. Regrettably.
Sometimes it just feels better to sleep. Sometimes it feels better to stay in the darkness. Sometimes you simply want nothing to do with the light. Read the rest of this entry
Text: Isaiah 60:1-6
Darkness is scary. There is no two ways about it. You could be in your garage that you have been in thousands of times before in your life. But if someone shuts off the lights, suddenly you stumble and fumble around. Your bedroom could be a safe haven, but even with every door locked in the house your mind will start to play tricks on you when lying in bed in the dark. The dark can be terrifying. My mother always said, “Nothing good happens at night.”
How much more doesn’t that apply to this sinful world of darkness! It’s scary to look at how dark the world around us is becoming.
And yet, most terrifying is the darkness of my own heart. The depths of of depravity of which I am capable of–or have already achieved–is beyond frightening. In fact, it’s damning.
But dear Christian friends, arise! Shine! For your light has come! The glory of the Lord rises upon you!
The word Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means to appear or make known. On the day of Epiphany and on the Sundays after we look to Jesus who made himself known as the light of the world that shines on are sinful darkness.
See the Light. Believe in the Light. Then live in His light forever.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have revealed yourself to me as the Light of the world. Continue to shine on me with the light of your love and forgiveness. Make me to reflect your light to others. Amen.
Text: Luke 2:25-40
My son loves to have visitors at the house. When he knows we are having guests stay with us, he can’t wait. If it is friends of the family, even better. But if it’s one of his sets of grandparents, then watch out! When we are on grandparent watch, we are counting the number of sleeps till they arrive. We get asked about it every day. We have a little boy who can’t sleep at night. The excitement is barely containable.
Imagine Simeon and Anna. Day in and day out they were at the temple worship and serving the Lord. Simeon was even told that some time before he died he would get to see the promised Savior. Then in walk Joseph and Mary one morning for the “presentation” and circumcision of their new son named Jesus.
What joy was theirs! What excitement! What peace! The one they had been waiting for had finally arrived! The Savior of the world had come! The Light for all nations in a world of darkness and sin was shining brightly!
With eyes of faith we look back through history and the pages of Scripture to behold this newborn Savior for the first time all over again. Oh what joy and excitement fills our hearts! God has kept his promises! The Savior has come! We have peace!
This Christmas season–and every day–bask in the Light of the world that shines on you with his bright love and forgiveness–our Savior Christ the Lord!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as believers of old once waited for your coming as Savior of the world, now we wait for your return as King triumphant. Keep us in the light of your love that we may see your face clearly and joyfully on that Last Day. Amen.