Read or listen to 1 John 2:1-14
Are we living our lives so we get to heaven?
Are we just holding on until that glorious day?
Maybe, Jesus will come get us while we still walk the earth.
Does it look more and more like we are in those last days?
Do world events seem so bizarre that we are asking, how much longer?
Does the world seem to be growing darker?
Then what is John talking about?
The darkness is passing away?
True light is already shining?
I thought we had agreed that this world was growing darker by the day. What’s up with that? What’s up with John?
This first letter or homily of John is one full of contrast, light and darkness being perhaps the predominant pairing.
But how can we look at our world and say the darkness is passing away? How can we say that the true light is already shining?
Let’s go back to the precipitating question: Are we living our lives so we get to heaven?
Are we just waiting for Jesus to burst on the scene?
Are we living a waiting game?
I have never been to the Great Wall of China, but I look at the pictures and think, what a monumental endeavor.
I have never been to the Taj Mahal, but I am overwhelmed by the scope of effort required.
I have been to the battlefield at Gettysburg. I have stood on Little Round Top. I have walked Pickett’s charge from the low ground near Gettysburg up to Cemetery Ridge. Today this battlefield that pitted regiment against regiment against regiment would be only space sufficient for a reinforced rifle company to defend and perhaps a battalion to attack.
And I have embraced the sense of undertaking that was compressed into these few acres. This was a battle with over 50,000 casualties. Over 7,000 died on the battlefield itself, others died later.
And you can only ask how so many give could so much in such little time and so small a space.
And yet, we who have been claimed by Christ have been given the greatest undertaking this world has ever known.
- Greater than anything built by man
- Greater than any call to arms
- Greater than any monument or invention mankind will ever produce
We are to be God’s light in this world.
When we look around and see a dark world, we have two basic choices.
- We can pray that Jesus comes soon before things get too ugly, or
- We can make sure that nothing is dampening our light in this world.
We can do both, but we must remember that the Lord is not slow in coming. He is deliberate so that all may come to a saving relationship though Christ.
That means that we are to shine as brightly as we can.
We are to reflect the diving image.
We are to be God’s light in this world.
And John reminds us that we give a poor reflection of divine light when we have hate in our heart for a brother or sister.
Likewise, we shine poorly when we withhold forgiveness.
We shine poorly when we make our love conditional.
We shine poorly when our hearts long for the things of this world before the ways of God.
So when we look at our world and it appear dark to us, let us ask ourselves, “Is my light shining or is it dimmed because my heart hates, won’t forgive, doubts, worries, or just doesn’t trust God?”
And sometimes it seems that we know this, but claim it is just too hard. So John reminds us of what we know and what will assure us.
Children—your sins are forgiven on account of his name.
Fathers—you know the Truth who was there from the beginning of the world.
Youth—you have overcome the evil one.
Children—you already know the Father.
Fathers—the Truth lives in you.
Youth—you are strong because the word of God lives in you. The battle is won.
Light has overcome darkness.
So we ask, Will we live with that light in us?
Will we see the darkness passing away because we have removed the obstacles in our hearts?
But what about the hereafter?
Will we see a time of rejoicing when God walks among men? Absolutely!
Will we see the Kingdom of Heaven? Count on it!
But we are not to wait around for the cavalry to ride over the hill and rescue us from a dark world. We are the rescuers. We are light to those who live in darkness.
We are here to show the rest of the world that we can live in faith and hope and love in spite of the world.
Consider the words that we pray most every Sunday.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Notice that the prayer which our Lord gave us did not include a provision for delayed realization.
And it is God’s will that we love one another. There is no place for hate.
It is God’s will that we forgive one another.
It is God’s will that we be his light—the true light—and that darkness may pass away.
Let us not spend so much time looking beyond the grave that we forget to live before it.
And in that life before death, we are light and darkness is passing away.
Jesus said that while he was in the world, he was the light of the world.
Jesus said that he is in us and we are in him.
Jesus said that we are the light of the world.
John reminds us that the light that is within us has already overcome the world. All we have to do it let it shine.
All we have to do is let it shine.
If our hearts know hate, then we have no light.
But if we have no hate, then we truly know light.
Let your light shine before mankind.
Let your light shine.
Let it shine.
Read this pericope in The Message