Year B – Easter Sunday – Christ the Lord is Risen Today

One of the great joys in the Church is music, especially when we have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from hymns written by brothers and sisters in Christ who do not necessarily share our doctrinal distinctives.  This hymn could be considered in this category for its author, Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was one of the founders of the Methodist movement in England.  The Methodists began at Oxford with Charles, his brother John, and famed preacher George Whitefield along with some other students who deeply desired a living and active faith in Christ.  Though ordained in the Church of England, these men felt that they were stagnant in their faith.  Eventually, though they initially didn’t want to, they broke from the Church of England and their denominational offspring now owns the church we worship in.

But this is the greatness of the Body of Christ:  whatever differences we may have with the Methodists and John and Charles Wesley in particular, we share in praise with them as we sing the hymns they wrote.  The song originated in the 1300s as a Latin hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” but Charles amended it with his own work.  This song in particular demonstrates the depth of maturity of Charles Wesley’s view of the resurrection of Christ, and we can say a hearty “amen” to these words.

Christ’s resurrection, we sing, finishes “love’s redeeming work” and opens “paradise,” it explicates Christ’s Kingship, saves souls, removes the sting of death, causes us to follow our “exalted Head,” makes us “like Him” so that “like Him” we might rise.

Since Christ’s resurrection is absolutely central to the working of Redemption (Christ was raised for our Justification), it is fitting that this song would rise from our midst on Easter.  Let us sing vigorously together this Sunday know that since Christ has opened Paradise, we have an advocate before the Father and will join our Exalted Head in Lord’s Day Worship in the heavens this Sunday.

Alleluia!

-JHerr

Advertisements

Year B – Palm Sunday –Psalm 31: 9-16

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,*
and my bones waste away.
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror* to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.

Summary— The 31st Psalm is unlike many others, in that David makes his familiar trek from heartache to hope twice, first in verses 1-8, and then again starting in v.9, doubling back in more detail.  Whatever his distress was, he attributes it in part to his own iniquity (v.10).  Whether or not he has some particular sin in mind, we don’t know; if he does, that would explain the scorn of his adversaries (v.11).  In any case, he begs God to deal with him graciously (v.9), quickly adding that distress in his soul creates distress in his body (v.9): weeping eyes (v.9) and failing strength (v.10).  Due to his situation—whatever it is—those who know him are suddenly avoiding him (v.11) and forgetting him (v.12).  Some are even malicious (v.13).  Nevertheless, he wrenches his soul around to make himself say, “But I trust in you, O LORD,” which is well founded since “You are my God” (v.14).  Back in verse 5 he had said, “Into your hand I commit my spirit,” which is why in verse 15 he can say, “My times are in your hand.”  Finally, he binds unto himself the Aaronic benediction—God’s face shining on him (v.16, cr. Num. 6:25), which takes on special meaning in light of the dark looks and avoided looks he’s getting from others (v.11).

Insight— It’s perfectly natural to wish you weren’t thought poorly of by others.  In the world as it was meant to be, we’d all give each other due respect and never even notice it.  The world isn’t as it was meant to be, though, so being thought poorly of is a normal abnormality.  Sometimes it’s for sake of righteousness, sometimes for sake of sin, meaning that it’s sometimes their problem, sometimes yours—often some of both.  Either way, and whatever else you should do about it, one thing you should always do about it is treasure God’s face shining on you more than you treasure theirs.  God is worth more than any other person is worth, so His favor is worth more than any other person’s favor is worth.  If we lose everything else but have God, He is enough; if we lose everybody else’s favor but have God’s, it is enough.  David walks himself through this prioritization: in verse 11, he tells God that others avoid looking on him, or else look at him darkly, so in verse 16 he asks that God look on him, and that He do so beamingly.  For those of us in Christ—because we’re in Christ—God does just that.  And when it has to be, it is enough.

Child Catechism— Who’s love is better, God’s or your friends’?  God’s!

Discussion— Sometimes, we learn to treasure God’s love most when we have others’ least; but, do you think that it will be easier to find satisfaction in God when things get rocky if you’ve already pursued satisfaction in God while things are smooth?

Prayer— O God, we are the scorn of our adversaries, and may sometimes be disliked and avoided by our neighbors and acquaintances; yes, and may sometimes be forgotten by our friends.  But whom do we desire besides You?  In Your presence is fullness of joy, and if You delight is us, Your children, it is enough.  So, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us; lift up Your countenance upon us and give us peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 Contributed by Scott Cline

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

All Glory, Laud, and Honor
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessed One.

The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.

To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

Theodulph, Bishop of Orleans, always knew who was really in charge.  At one time a influential church leader in Charlemagne’s court, directing, writing and educating for the imperial state; at the end of his life he found himself locked in a monastery.  Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious did not trust the bishop once the king died.  It was during his years at the monastery, when earthy kings failed him, Theodulph wrote his hymn of praise to our heavenly King.  Originally in Latin, John Neale translated the English version we sing today.

Based on the Gospel accounts of the Triumphant entry.  The hymn remains a Palm Sunday processional after more than a millennium.  These words reflect the shouts and cheers of praises sung so long ago.  But, these praises came just before his death… as Christ, the royal Son of David entered Jerusalem two thousand years ago.  This Sunday we will join the angels, singing these praises in the presence of our resurrected Christ.

As Lent draws to a close, we should all be more aware of our dependence upon God.  But this hymn calls us to show great respect and gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us.   We can be as two faced and half-hearted as those who shouted two thousand years ago; and yet He has chosen to graciously acceptance our praises.

MW

Year B – Palm Sunday – Isaiah 50:4-9a

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.  Morning by morning he wakens–wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.  The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.  I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.  The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.  Who will contend with me?  Let us stand up together.  Who are my adversaries?  Let them confront me.  It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?”

Summary – The prophet here, in context of his preaching to the people about the causes of their national woes and God’s answer to the problem, speaks of his ministry to Israel.  His role is that of a teacher who speaks what he is taught of God (vs 4).  He shows his submission to God’s plan by not being rebellious (vs 5) and taking the persecution that comes his way (vs 6); and he knows that the persecution is not shameful for God is his vindicator (vs 7).  He is secure in knowing that he need not be afraid of man because of this (vss 8-9).  Isaiah in this typifies a part of the ministry that the true Suffering Servant (Jesus) would assume, and we who are in Christ share in this benefit for if God is for us, who could be against us (Rom 8:37, cf. Is 50:8-9).

 Insight – Self-sacrifice for the sake of God’s gospel call is difficult.  Have you ever though, “Boy, it would be easier if I could just do it my way?”  That is the struggle most followers of God have felt for thousands of years.  Jonah found that out the hard way, didn’t he?  When he ran from God’s call, he ended up inside a giant fish!  Isaiah, however, had a different experience in this passage.  He says that he was NOT rebellious and so as his plan was in line with God’s plan, God was his defender.  When Isaiah was persecuted for the things he said to the rebellious Israelites, he didn’t worry about it, because he knew God was on his side.  This Sunday we remember Christ’s “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem.  Generally it has a more festive connotation, but remember that Jesus was entering Jerusalem in order to ultimately die.  He, like a perfect Isaiah, was being obedient to death on a cross (Php 2:8) since He obeyed God’s will (Lk 22:42).  God is on our side through the redemption His Son brought.  So we can feel confident that we are more than conquerors through Him (Rom 8:37) and don’t have to fear those who are against us.

Child Catechism – Who is it that helps you?  The Lord God. (cf. vs 9)

 Discussion – What does it mean for a believer’s life that they are in Christ and “share in His sufferings” (1Pt 4:13)?  What are some things in your life that you are afraid of doing?  How could trusting that you are not put to shame when you are doing God’s will help you in those circumstances?

Prayer – Our Father, you who have richly blessed us in your Son now enable us to serve you without fear.  Though we experience persecutions of various kinds, grant us the strength to focus on you, our protector, defender, and vindicator.  Through you, we are not put to shame.  Amen

 

-JDHerr

Year B – Lent 5 –Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
5Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6You desire truth in the inward being;*
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right
* spirit within me.
11Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing
* spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.
17The sacrifice acceptable to God* is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt-offerings and whole burnt-offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Summary— David hopes in God’s covenant love (v.1).  He seeks not only forgiveness, but change (v.2).  He acknowledges that no matter who else is hurt, sin is sin because it’s against God Himself (v.4).  He asks to be purged with hyssop (v.7), the plant with which priests sprinkled blood on formerly-diseased houses to declare them clean (so, he’s asking God to be his Great High Priest in sprinkling blood to declare him clean).  He fears that he might be among those who share in the Holy Spirit but fall away (v.11, cr. Heb. 6:4-6).  He desires the restoration of his joy in God (v.12).  And he wants all this mercy to overflow in evangelism (v.13) and praise (v.14).

Insight— How will we think about and confess our sinfulness?  We are not without divine direction: God placed within the Psalter—His prescribed hymnbook—King David’s confession.  It isn’t just any confession: as a psalm written to the choirmaster for corporate use, it’s specially intended to inform and shape our own thinking and feeling about confession.  And confession is something that Jesus assumes we’ll need every day, as seen in the words He taught us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us trespasses…”   So, confess: confess as one shaped by David’s confession, and as one who trusts that forgiveness is already there, since Jesus always lives to make intercession for us, so that even as we sin, we already have an advocate with the Father.

Child Catechism— When you sin against mom or dad, who are you sinning against ultimately?  God and God alone.

Discussion— As you listen to this prayer, what do you notice as things that David hopes will come to pass?

Prayer— Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your steadfast love.  We have committed sins against You, and You alone—wash us from them.  Sprinkle us with Christ’s blood, and declare us clean.  May we not be among those who share in Your Holy Spirit only temporarily.  Return to us the joy of Your salvation, that we might praise You and lead others to do the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Contributed by Scott Cline

Year B – Palm Sunday – Philippians 2:5-11

“5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Summary – Last week we read where Jesus, Glorified by God alone to the office of the Eternal High Priest and was the only begotten Son of the Father offered up prayers to the only One who could save Him from Death. We are called to have the same mind wherein Jesus was heard because of his respectful submission as in one believing, trusting even worshiping the Father. Even though He was a Son, he learned obedience through what He suffered. Thus, being made perfect we too are called to have the same mind set.

Insight – We should practice the same mind of Christ Jesus, “who .  .  .  .  emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.” We too should empty and humble ourselves and become obedient to God and His truth even to the point of death. Our level of commitment and benevolence should be such as we are to be total servants of the most high God putting off “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:17-24, NASB)

Childs Catechism – Should we be committed to serve like Jesus in every area of our lives? Yes, we should be committed to serve like Jesus in every area of our lives.

Discussion – What does it mean to be committed even to the point of death? Did Jesus have to do that?

Prayer – Dear Lord God and heavenly Father, bless us O God, bless us O Lord, protect us and give us strength to be the servants You have called us to be. Prepare us O God for such servant-hood and forgive us when we fail in our commitments to You in our everyday lives serving others. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Contributed by Rev. Tom Miller, MA

Year B – Fifth Sunday in Lent – Hebrews 5:5-10

“5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” 7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Summary – Jesus, Glorified by God alone to the office of the Eternal High Priest begotten of the Father offered up prayers to the only one who could save Him from Death; Jesus was heard because of his Reverent submission. Even though a Son, he learned obedience through what He suffered. Thus, being made perfect Jesus is the only source of our salvation.

Insight – Jesus did not assume the glory of the priestly office for Himself but rather was called of God (John 8:54). That is, the Father glorified and appointed Him to the priesthood. This appointment was the result of the Sonship of Christ which qualified Him for the office. Only the divine Son could have fulfilled such an office.  Jesus did not represent Himself to be the Son of God, but was from everlasting [in eternity] the only-begotten son of God.  He is a Priest absolutely because He stands alone in that character without an equal.  He was always obedient to the Father’s will but the special obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest He learned through suffering. He was High Priest already in the purpose and eyes of God before His crucifixion, but after it, by it, He was made perfect.

Childs Catechism – Is Jesus the perfect son of God the only source of our salvation? Yes, Jesus is the perfect son of God and the only source of our salvation, and He says: “anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24, NSAB)

Discussion – What qualified Jesus to be the High Priest forever? If God could save Him from death why did He have to die?

Prayer – Lord God and heavenly Father, our ways are not Your ways nor our thoughts. Help us O God, Help us O Lord to think of one another as Christ thought of us giving Himself on the cross that we might live. We thank you Lord for all you have done, You alone are God and the great High Priest and we worship You alone with great thanksgiving and we do so in your name Jesus, Amen.

Contributed by Rev. Tom Miller, MA

Year B – Lent – 5 – Jeremiah 31:31-34

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”

Summary – As we draw near to Passion Week, the lectionary texts become increasingly more focused on Christ’s death for our redemption and forgiveness.  This week’s selections do just that, and forgiveness of sins is the theme that runs through all four.  This passage from Jeremiah is the key to so much of the Bible, especially New Testament, as it falls in the context of the later and increasingly more evil kingdoms of Judah and Israel, especially during over-rule and some captivity by the Babylonians.  Jeremiah, seeing this bleak situation, prophetically looks to the future and to the coming of the Messiah who would initiate the New Covenant.  Of note, too, is the fact that this passage is fully quoted in Hebrews 8; the longest unbroken quote of the Old Testament in the New Testament.

Insight – I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old playing at a family reunion and one of my 2nd cousins told me he was eleven.  ELEVEN!  Wow, that seemed so old and grown up to me.  I had no idea what it would be like to be eleven, or if I would ever make it there, it seemed so far away.  Now of course, looking back, it is hard for me to imagine being less than eleven.  I’m sure most of you have had something like that–maybe a birthday you were looking forward to–where you knew it was coming, but had only a small picture of what it would be like.  For us, it seems so obvious and normal that Jesus has come to earth to die for us, but for those who lived before He came, it was not so.  They related to God partly through anticipation of His coming work, while we think more in terms of recollection of His past work.  Their covenant was founded on commandments carved into tablets while ours is written on our hearts; they had to learn to “Know the Lord” through sacrificing animals which gave them a picture of who Jesus would be while we know Christ because He has come and made Himself known to us, from the least to the greatest.  They anticipated the forgiveness He would bring; we now share in that actual forgiveness!

Child Catechism – How do you know God?  Because He sent Jesus to Earth for me.

 Discussion – What are some other ways the Old Covenant was different from the New Covenant we live in today?  What are some ways that they are the same or similar?

Prayer – Thank you Lord for remembering your promises.  You promised your people in the Old Testament that you would forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.  Now you have proven yourself truly faithful as you have fulfilled your promises in Christ.  In His Name we ask for faith to believe your promises as we remember your faithfulness to us.  Amen.

-JHerr

Year B – Lent 4 – Numbers 21:4-9

4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea,to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.5The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.7The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.8And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonousserpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Summary—Between Egypt, the land of captivity, and Canaan, the land of blessing, the Israelites wandered.  Instead of rejoicing in this deliverance and hoping in its destination, they complained about its manna.  By doing so, they were in fact complaining about the Bread of Heaven (Jn. 6:31-35).  In any case, they complained, even going so far as to wish that they were back in Egypt!  They did this first in Exodus 16, then again in Numbers 11:4, and finally a third time in our passage, Numbers 21:4-9.  Since they longed for Egypt, which God had cursed, God cursed them, and He did so with an invasion of poisonous snakes.  Although many died, it wasn’t long before God’s judgment produced its blessed fruit—repentance.  In response to this corporate penitence, God provided a corporate solution: the sign of a serpent, lifted up on a pole where all could see; any Israelite who looked to that serpent in faith would be healed (years later, according to 2 Ki. 18:4, this serpent became an idol; be warned by Num. 21 not to neglect God’s signs and rites, and by 2 Ki. 18 not to idolize them).  Isn’t it interesting that God’s prescription was a serpent?  Not only were serpents unclean (Lev. 11:41-42)—ever since Genesis 3, they could not but embody sin and curse.  Herein lies the meaning of the incident: by looking to One who would embody sin and curse on a pole (Gal. 3:13) we can be healed of real poison, sin.  “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up…” (Jn. 3:14).

Insight—About this incident, Matthew Henry said, “Oh that the venom of the old serpent, inflaming men’s passions, and causing them to commit sins which end in their eternal destruction, were as sensibly felt, and the danger as plainly seen, as the Israelites felt pain from the bite of the fiery serpents, and feared the death which followed! Then none would shut their eyes to Christ, or turn from his gospel. Then a crucified Saviour would be so valued, that all things else would be accounted loss for him; then, without delay, and with earnestness and simplicity, all would apply to him in the appointed way, crying, Lord, save us; we perish! Nor would any abuse the freeness of Christ’s salvation, while they reckoned the price which it cost him.”

Child Catechism—Who became a curse for us, and was lifted up to be looked to in faith for healing from sin?  Jesus Christ.

Discussion—Do we feel sin as “sensibly” as the Israelites felt snake bites, as Matthew Henry wishes we did?  If we did, would we value our crucified Savior more?

Prayer—O God, You are the Great Healer; and, whatever else we may need Your healing for, we need it for our sin more desperately.  Grant that we may not, like Israel, fail to be satisfied with the Bread of Heaven; and, grant that when we do so fail, we would afterward look in faith to this same Bread, who was lifted up on a pole as our curse, and is now lifted up to Your throne as our advocate.  Amen.

Contributed by Scott Cline

March 18, 2012 Year B – Fourth Sunday in Lent

John 3:14-21  And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

Insight:  Implicitly, I think we are being reminded of God’s omnipresence… and how this is good to know if we are pursuing the right things and with a right motive.  Those things are clearly seen and even delighting the one who knows and sees all [see Proverbs 15:8-9].  We are not perfect, but we believe and love the light, our Savior.  We are also not condemned; Yet we can still love the darkness of sin and disobedience.  John uses light and dark a lot in all his writings.  A key theme of John, and also a key idea about our Lent season, is that we want to practice doing what is true by walking in the light rather than in the dark.

Child Catechism:  In whom must be believe to have eternal life?  The only Son of God.

Discussion:  Do you find obedience harder when nobody else is watching?   What might be some reasons John uses the language of darkness for evil deeds and light for Christ?

Father,  you love this world and far too often this world loves only darkness,

Thank you for your Son, and may your Spirit lead us in his light, Amen.

[mac west]