Dear Friends in Christ,
If last week’s lessons flowed abundantly with water, this week’s shine with awakening light.
“Sleeper awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,” declares Paul, after encouraging us to recognize that after so much darkness the light of our Savior has come.
The significance of going from darkness to light during Lent is probably obvious. We are in a period that moves us closer and closer to the brutal death of Jesus on the cross, a subject that understandably feels dark. We move through Lent, though, always holding our knowledge of the light of the Resurrection. Paul’s admonition that we “Try to find out what is pleasing to God” and “expose works of darkness” is also very appropriate for this season. Right now is our time to see where we are prone to commit works of darkness and, through our disciplines and our prayers of confession, bring them to light before God, that the light may expel the darkness. When that happens we too are like one risen from the dead, for the darkness that previously held us loses its power.
The theme of light and dark plays out elsewhere in the readings for Sunday as well. In 1 Samuel we’ll hear of the anointing of King David, an act done to end a dark period in Israel’s history, and in John’s Gospel we’ll read of the miraculous healing of a blind man—a story of one person literally be taken by Jesus from darkness to light.
There is one reading that at first doesn’t seem to fit. It’s that beloved 23rd Psalm. What’s the connection between the Light of Christ shining through the darkness of sin and the warm imagery of God as a shepherd? It is included because it offers an illustration of what we see when we are awakened from our sleep. When we allow our fears of the world and of our own lives to consume us we are consumed in darkness. When we come to know the light that Christ brings that darkness is expelled and our eyes are opened to see the God depicted by the Psalmist—one who carries us through the darkness to brighter places.
This Sunday’s Lessons: