I am humbled that I would be asked again to stand before you and share. What a privilege that you want to know what I think. Just so you know, I have a new respect for ministers who do this every week. Or priests who do it every day! I don’t know what the time limit is, but I have decided that I have a greater fear of talking a lot and saying nothing and pray that even if I talk little I will say much. I have lots of ideas, but I struggle to make them into something cohesive to share. I think it may come from my years in the classroom where my goal was to teach people to have dialogue. In studying the scripture for today, though, I have come to the conclusion that light is what we should consider. So, I will invoke I Peter 2:9 (again) and be reminded that I have been called out of the darkness so that I can share the good news of the gospel.
When we consider light, I think there are a lot of properties that come to mind naturally. Light is needed for growth. I vaguely remember learning about photosynthesis (and because I warned Steven that Disney may show up–Mr. Ray sings a song in Finding Nemo about the seawood making its food from the rays of the sun). Light impacts mood. Think about how we all rejoiced on December 21 when we knew the days would get longer again. We crave the sun and even have ways of mimicking it–happy lights, light bulbs. Honestly, I have chosen to type this up sitting on the front porch in the sunlight. And light eliminates darkness. There cannot be darkness when there is light. Even the tiniest bit of light draws our eye. What I find that all of these things have in common is they elicit a change.
Jesus elicits change. In our scripture today, the disciples are called. Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately answer Jesus’ call. I have always been fascinated by that lack of hesitation. I have decided that Jesus is their light. When He called them, they saw in Him the change that was needed in their dark world. Their eyes were drawn, and their feet followed. He became a lighthouse for them. A guide. We cannot be our own lighthouses. As happy and well-balanced as we may appear, we can’t guide ourselves. We need somewhere to focus. Jesus is that somewhere.
When we choose to make Jesus our light, we choose to elicit change. We choose to focus on His light–the things He did during His ministry, the changes He made. It also means we choose to be His light. Light helps calm our fears and anxieties in making this choice. It doesn’t eliminate them. But it gives us a place to focus. It draws our eye. It, therefore, helps us to make meaning out of what seems meaningless (Romans 8:28), order out of chaos, and compassion out of selfishness. All things that the disciples saw Jesus do.
We must be diligent in looking for the light in our own lives. Shortly after learning we were pregnant with Peter, Steven stopped to give a ride to part of our community’s vulnerable population. His intent was to be light for the man. In their short ride, Steven shared with him that we were in our first trimester and that he was anxious because of our history. The man shared with Steven that he felt God urging him to reassure us. That everything would be fine. Our pregnancy was not without anxiety. But we were able to return to that moment of light we were given early over and over. And we felt reassured that regardless of the outcome everything would, indeed, be fine. Because God had shown us Himself in the light of this man.
I want to look at some of the scripture’s reference to light specifically. In Isaiah we are told there will be no more gloom, and the people who were walking in darkness will see a great light; that light has dawned. In the Psalm we are told that God is our light and salvation, and we have nothing to fear. In Matthew the kingdom of heaven is near, and Jesus calls us to change. I did a lot of reading about the use of the word “heaven” in this scripture. I am no formally educated theologian, but I choose to interpret “heaven” as Jesus and, therefore, light. Jesus was indeed near. Heaven is often associated with the sky and sun. The sun is light. Jesus is light.
Now, here’s what I want you to remember if nothing else from today. Replace the word light with love. The people who were walking in darkness will see a great love and love has dawned. God is our love and salvation. The kingdom of love is near. Love calls us to change. Choose to find the light, choose to find the love. It is God’s love that calls us to change. It is God’s love that calls us to act. It is for our love of God that we do.