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January 6

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Roll Back the Darkness

Isaiah 60:1-6

            Light is an important word in Scripture.  It can mean what we call ‘light’ but it can be a metaphor for spiritual illumination.  That is the case here in Isaiah 60.  Their light has come.  Their time of spiritual illumination and understanding has come.

            That thread runs through the whole book.  From 9:2 where people walking in darkness have seen a great light to 42:16 where God will turn darkness into light before them to our reading where their light has come; God has now brought real understanding to them.

            Their time of darkness, ignorance, is over.  God is doing something new and understanding dawns in their hearts.  Notice though that light cannot be contained.  When a light is turned on, it fills the area around according to the power of the light.  A match lights a few inches, a flashlight illumines several feet, etc. 

            This light, this understanding of God, serves not only to help the people of God understand but is a drawing of the whole world toward the light.  Nations will come to your light…Like those trapped in a cave move toward whatever light they can see, so will those who search for understanding and God move toward whatever light that can be found. 

            In John, Jesus says that he is the light of the world.  He is the source of our understanding of God.  He also says in Matthew we are the light of the world, a reflected light, but a source of light none-the-less. 

            Today is actually Epiphany Day and we celebrate the light that has come to us.  We celebrate the light of God in Jesus Christ.  Who has brought to us an understanding of God clothed in grace and love.

            As you come to this table, give thanks for the light that has dawned in your heart and allow that light to flow from you as well.

MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2008.  What is the brightest light you know?  The sun?  That thing the optometrist uses to see your retina?  I just had an eye exam and that light is almost painful.  But that light is a good light for it exposes potential illness and problems with our eyes.  The light of God is not only illumination so we can find our way, but like that light exposes harmful things in our lives.  See 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.  The light exposes our motivation in the ‘building’ of our lives.  Periodically, we need to take time and allow the searching light of God to cast its beam in us and what is really there.  But like the light used by the optometrist it can be painful.  Are we ready to do that?

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2008.  In Exodus 12:1 the month of Aviv/Nisan is the beginning of their new year.  That corresponds to March or April in our reckoning of time. The first thing they were to celebrate at the beginning of their new year is the Passover.  Read through Exodus 12 and understand that the ‘passover’ was the passing of the death angel over the houses of those who had put the lamb’s blood on the door posts.    The Passover and the Exodus were times of God freeing them from slavery.  It was a time for them not only to examine themselves but to obey God.  Obedience is something we all have trouble with.  Have you ever told your children, “My house, my rules”?  God has things for our good and our well being, but to get that well being we have to be willing to obey.  What do we need obey?

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2008.  Back to the image of light.  Light has different wave lengths.  Some of those wave lengths are blue in color, some red, some violet, some green, etc.  We see the green couch because only the wave length of ‘green’ is reflected back to the eye. If we are reflections of the light of Jesus, what is reflected back to the eyes of those who see us?  Do they see a Jesus who loves them in spite of their sins, or do they see a judgmental one who only loves them after they clean up their act?  What are we reflecting?

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2008.  The monastic practice of praying seven times a day (vigils/matins lauds, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline) come from Psalms 119:164: Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.  We may not follow the monastic practice, but how many times a day do we praise him for his grace to us?  This new year could be a time when we begin to be more aware of God’s grace throughout the day and stop briefly and give thanks.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2008.  Sometime this weekend, take a moment to look around you.  Don’t just casually glance around, but look with intent.  What do you see?  The river that flows through town?  Do see nature and all that God has made?  Do you see the buildings that men have constructed?  Do you see people in all our variety?  What ever it is that catches your eye take a moment and if it is a good thing give thanks;  if it is not a good thing ask what you can do to make it better.  Remember we are reflections of the light. 

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