Year A – Lent 4 – John 9:1-41

John 9:1–41 – As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Summary – This story in John’s gospel highlights Jesus’ work in healing a man born blind. The Gospel of John is a marvelous exposition of “Signs” that call for faith. They are arranged as follows:

The Seven + One New Creation (Signs in John)
1. New Creator: Water into wine (2:1-11)
2. Redeemer/Healer: Prevents death of nobleman’s son (4:46ff)
3. True Sabbath: The paralyzed man at the pool (5:2-9) GO SIN NO MORE
4. Bread of Life: Multiplication of loaves (6:1-14)
5. Light of the World: Born blind, healed on Sabbath (9:1-7) IT WAS NOT HIS SIN
6. Resurrection & Life: Delays/death then raises Lazarus (11:1-44)
7. Living Water: Water & blood on the cross (19:34-35)
+ 8. New Adam/Gardener: The resurrection (20:1-29) “First Day” (8th Day)

From this you can see that both the 3rd and the 5th sign have to do with the Sabbath. In the early part, the disciples question whose fault this blindness is: his or his parents? Of course, if the man were born blind . . .  how could his own sin cause state at birth? It seems that perhaps they were somewhat muddled in their thinking. Jesus corrects them. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”However it is clear that is some cases one’s sin can affect him in drastic ways (see 5:2-9). The rest of the story reveals the glory of God through this astounding sign in John.

Insight – This Gospel reading is an amazing and even amusing story. This blind man received his sight from Jesus, but the Pharisees who claimed to have sight (so as to lead others) could only “see” a Sinner. Their system of righteousness which included Sabbath-work kept them from seeing what was right in front of their face. The righteous (but) blind Pharisees reasoned that, “This man [Jesus] is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” The unrighteous (but) seeing man (healed by Jesus) reasoned, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” For a while the Pharisees were in power, so they used that power to perform the first excommunication in the New Testament, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us? So they put him out [of the synagogue].”

Child’s catechism – Who is Jesus? Jesus is the light of the world.

Discussion – Can you say with the blind man and John Newton (in Amazing Grace), “I once was blind, but now I see”?

Prayer – O Lord, thank you for opening our eyes to see the light of your glory. Help us to love you more and to walk in your light. Amen.

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Year A – Epiphany – Matthew 2:1-12

Matthew 2:1–12  – In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Summary – Most Christians are familiar with the story of Magi coming from the East. We often see the icon’s three kings on camels at this time of year, though the text here does not specify three. In our nostalgic view of Christmas we picture three kings bowing to the newborn Jesus, along with animals and shepherds, and sometimes Santa Claus. The real story is much more dramatic that Christmas pageants. The Gospel of Luke, written to a Rome-wide audience, contrasts the birth of Jesus with the claim of Caesar Augustus claiming to be a god (Lk. 2). But in Matthew (written to Jews) the contrast is between the infamous Herod the Great, titled by Rome as “King of the Jews” (39 BC), and the actual King of the Jews, the Messiah to all nations. Herod the Great is a study in a wicked ruler; he was hated by the Jews of his day. He had many people killed, even his  (favorite) wife and some of his own children. However, he was a major player on the world scene at this time.  He presented many costly presents for the likes of Julius Caesar, Antony, Cleopatra, and most of all, Augustus (Octavius) Caesar. Matthew makes clear that through the prophecies of the Scriptures the birth place of the Messiah could be known and possibly the general time (Mic. 5:2; Dan. 9:24ff). When the Magi found Jesus, probably 1-2 years old at the time (after Jesus was born, v1). They knelt down and worshiped Him and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them against the evil of Herod and they “went home by another way.” The Magi event is one of the major themes of Epiphany because it is the first hint that the true King of the Jews is actually the Savior of all Nations, the Light of the world.

Insight – There is a well-known song about the visit of the Magi, “We Three Kings” which was written by an Episcopal minster, John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1852. The insight that Hopkins put to poetry was that the gifts given have symbolic significance. “Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,  Gold I bring to crown Him again.” Gold symbolizes Christ’s kingship. “Frankincense to offer have I; Incense owns a Deity nigh.” This aromatic resin was often used in the worship of gods. Finally, a very interesting observation on the last gift. “Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone cold tomb.” The last verse of this carol has reference to the resurrection: “Glorious now behold Him arise; King and God and sacrifice.” (To hear my new version of the tune of this hymn, go here.)

Child’s Catechism – What did the Magi bring to Jesus? Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Discussion – Many believe the Magi were Persian wise men and star gazers (e.g., from the areas where Daniel lived, current day Iraq). How do you think the Magi knew about Christ?

Prayer – O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP, Epiphany)

 

Year A – Epiphany – Isaiah 60:1-6

Is 60:1–6 – “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. 3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.   4 Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.”

Summary – The Lord, through the Prophet addresses the mother-city, Jerusalem, in this striking prophecy (using feminine pronouns, “you/your”). Though darkness has rested on the peoples and it all seems bleak, just then the Lord will shine over the city and people. The nations will be gathered into her. As they do so their abundance will come in as well, “the wealth of the nations shall come to you.” Even more the sons and daughters of Israel return. This text is perfectly placed as a prophetic glimpse of Epiphany. It refers to the star over Bethlehem, as well as the visit of the magi (Matt. 2).

Insight – Sometimes people get very down after the holidays. Do you ever feel a let down after New Years? Now it’s time to put shoe leather to your aspirations of new year’s resolutions and ambitions to change in the next year. Sometimes just getting back to the ordinary routine can get you down. Even more, January may not be your favorite time of year, it’s darker and colder with inclement weather. It seems like a long stretch until spring. The promises above came to God’s people in the worst kind of January, in truly the darkest time. It looks to a time of exile when the faithful had been scattered and when the nation had lost stability. It promises that abundance will come. It is an anchor that holds steady the ship of faith, saying, there will be a return to Zion, sons and daughters, nations renewed, abundance and all of this in a time of darkness. I believe this is fulfilled through Christ and the Church. Over history there have been multitudes of peoples from all kinds of nations who have come to follow Jesus. As they have been converted they bring their abundances in wealth, language, culture and music. All because of the One born in Bethlehem under starlight, visited by the Magi.

Catechism – What does Epiphany mean? Epiphany means the light of Jesus shining to all people.

Discussion – What are some things about this time of year that may seem sad or dark to you?

Prayer – O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Year A – Epiphany 1 – Isaiah 42:1–9

Isaiah 42:1–9  – Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.   5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Summary – This section of Isaiah addresses the theme of the “Servant.” Who is the Servant of the Lord? Beginning in Isaiah 41, Israel is the Servant: “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’” (41:8ff). Isaiah moves from servants (Israel) to Servant (Israel’s anointed) to servants (those in union with Israel’s anointed).

  • But you, Israel, My servant, Isaiah 41:8
  • He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel, Isaiah 49:3
  • Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1
  • As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11
  • So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them. Isaiah 65:8
  • My servants will dwell there. Isaiah 65:9
  • Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. Isaiah 65:13

Insight – One writer wisely observes, “the servant is either Israel idealized or Israel represented by the ideal Israelite. . . (Geoffrey W. Grogan, EBC, 1986). This Sunday is the first week after Epiphany. The theme is the “Baptism of the Lord” and so Matthew 3 is the Gospel reading. In this passage Isaiah 42 is echoed in these familiar words: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). God is pleased with His Servant, Jesus, who is The Light to the nations and makes His Spirit-filled servants light in the world. We are to be like Jesus, receiving the Spirit (v1), showing compassion (v3), seeking justice (v4), bringing about liberty and justice (v8), and in whom He brings about new creation (v9).

Child’s Catechism – Why are the people who love Jesus a light? The people who love Jesus act like Him.

Discussion – What are some ways in this new year you could act more like Jesus?

Prayer – Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (BCP Holy Name Collect)

 

Year A – Lent 4 – Ephesians 5:8–14

Ephesians 5:8–14: For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Summary – Paul contrasts the life of pagans prior to Christ with their new life “in Him.” They were darkness, but now they are light. He urges them to live this way. He explains that the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. He urges these believers not to participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, rather show them for what they really are. Things become visible in the light.

Insight – The Epistle reading picks up the theme of light which is also in the Gospel this week. We are all “born blind” like the man in John 9. We can all say, one thing I know, whereas I was blind, but now I see (also in Amazing Grace). St. Paul exhorts us as those who have been given sight, to walk as children of Light. He grounds this on the truth that, “Now you are Light in the Lord.” We are Light, even if before we were darkness. Now let us live like it. Open the windows, remove the shades, step into the Sun. Let the light shine and put away darkness and dark deeds. Notice the promise at the end in v 14, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

Children’s Catechism – How are we to live? We are to live as children of the light.

Discussion – What would it mean for you to walk more in the light?

Prayer – [Collect for Purity] Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

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]

Year B – Epiphany 5 – Psalm 147:1-11, 20c

“1 Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 6 The LORD lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre. 8 He covers the heavens with clouds,   prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry. 10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;  11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.   .  .  .  .  20c Praise the LORD!”

Summary – The psalmist proclaims the Praise of our Lord and God because He is gracious, He is our salvation and He provides all of our needs and the needs of all creatures in His care. He gives all things abundantly to all His children. He looks for us and finds us, He heals us. He builds His Holy City; His Kingdom and for His glory to our joy and rejoicing. God created the universe His marvelous dwelling place like a great planetarium which He displays for all to see as He reveals his sovereignty, power and control over all creation; the original from which copies are made as is our worship at the foot of the throne just a glorious sample of the truly magnificent experience of worship yet to take place in Heavenly Places, His Kingdom Come! God does not delight in our wondrous works but rather, He rejoices in His children who put their trust in Him, who love Him and take delight in His wondrously magnificent works rejoicing and singing to the praise of His glory humbly in thanksgiving in honor and with respect for a God who shall surely be feared.

Insight – God has done it all, it’s amazing – all has been and will be provided and all we need do is: as we are called and gifted we are to be good stewards of that which we have received and do the sacrificial works of service taking care of that which is appointed to man; to see to the needs of our church family and beyond as called to show grace, love and mercy to those who hurt, to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice and give Praise because He is God and Jesus the Christ is risen!

Child Catechism – What does God do for us? He saves us, restores us and provides all of our needs.

Discussion – What are some of the things God provides for us? Why does He do so many wonderful things for us?

Prayer – Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, we see Your signature in the heavens and Your stars that shine Your Holy light and we see all Your amazing works daily and yet often we take them for granted. Help us O God to remember daily all you have done for us and remind us daily of our obligation to care for one another joyfully as we await Your Magnificent return. Let us praise You daily and for all eternity Almighty Father and God and we worship You alone, we love You because you so loved us first and we thank You and praise You in Jesus name alone, Amen.

Contributed by Tom Miller, MA

Year B – Epiphany 4 – Arise and Shine in Splendor

Has the electricity ever gone out at your house at night?  What did you do?  You probably have some candles and flashlights in a closet for these times.  But what happens until you find them?  Someone will grope around, trying not to trip over the dog or any furniture, and when he finds the light and turns it on, everyone gathers around it so they can see.  And isn’t it interesting how you can see the light from one little candle the whole way across your house?

When we sing “Arise and Shine in Splendor” this Sunday, think about light.  The first verse tells us that light has come into the world.  The light is clearly Jesus, the Light of the World!  The second verse tells us that the Light came for a special people, the Church.  Without that light, the earth is dark, hopeless, and gloomy.  The third verse tells us that though the Light came at first to one specific people and one specific place (Israel), it will go out to the very ends of the earth and people will be drawn to it.  Verse four tells us that not only people, but whole nations and Kings will come to the Light!  Finally, the last verse tells us that the Light awakens the world to the Church, and the Church to the world.

During this season of Epiphany, Light is the main subject.  We celebrate Jesus coming to the world to save His people.  We know that the news of His salvation will go the whole way around the world and people, nations, and kings will accept Jesus.  As a result of Jesus’ coming, people turn to Him and their hearts are filled with gladness which overflows in grateful service for the Light here in the world.

When you sing this song, sing loudly since you know that the Light has come to you and be thankful!