August 11, 2013
ORDINARY 19 (C)
Be like servants who await their master’s return … ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. – Luke 12: 36
There is much in life that threatens to overwhelm us. Some come from without, for example, crime, natural & financial disasters. However, most threats come from within: rejection, especially when it has to do with friendship & love; the feeling of being trapped in a stale marriage or an unrewarding profession; mid-life crisis; failing physical or mental health, to give but a few examples. In short, we feel the darkness closing in & we don’t know how to deal with it. But God, in His mercy, has sent light, & that light is Christ.
Ordinary light is a form of energy, a source of power which stimulates the nerve endings of our eyes. But Christ is the power of God Himself stimulating the nerve endings of our life, making it possible for us to penetrate the darkness & put things in their true perspective. More than that, it is a power which gives us the strength to cope, the strength to live creatively, the strength to love unconditionally.
Isaiah tells us that “I will give you as a light to the nations, says the Lord” (49: 6): “to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, & from the prison house those who sit in darkness” (42: 7). “I will give you as a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (42: 6).
God gives us the light, & that is an awesome privilege. But more than that, it is an awesome responsibility. Knowing that there are people waiting for the light, & knowing that God has chosen us as His light-bearers, & knowing that if we fail them we are failing God, it is an awesome responsibility indeed. God gives us the light of faith, but unless we share it with others it dissipates. It is gone, & darkness returns. To quote an old Hindu poem, “Thou hast to churn the milk, O disciple, if thou desirest the taste of butter.”
To fulfill this responsibility, we have to be like those awaiting their master’s return, so that when He knocks we can open without delay. The trouble is, we get so busy, so involved with life’s trappings, that in spite of our best intentions we begin to lose contact with the master. We are no longer prepared to receive Him when He knocks.
When we look at Jesus, what do we see? Do we see one who makes it possible for us to love in a special way? Do we see one who gives us hope for the future? Do we see the savior of the world? Or do we see just a prophet whose ideas sound impressive, but we pick & choose among them as it suits our fancy? Do we see only a great teacher & a good guy who ended up a failure?
The preacher at a rural church deep in the Ozark mountains suggested to his flock that they purchase a chandelier for the sanctuary. The matter was put to a vote & the suggestion was unanimously rejected. So the preacher inquired as to why they opposed the purchase. One member of the congregation said, “Well, first we can’t spell it, so how can we order it? Second, even if we did get one, no one can play it. Third, what we really need is more light.”
One of the great things about God is that He knows we need more light & He doesn’t fail to turn it on. He constantly whispers to each one of us, “Behold the Christ, the light of the world. Listen to him!” Are we really listening? AMEN!