December 12, Saturday                         You Are Light

Ephesians 5:6-14 (NRSV)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

In January 1970, I was academically dismissed from the University of Arkansas. My parents and siblings drove to Fayetteville, Arkansas, collected me and my belongings, and hauled me back to our home near Delight (Pike County), Arkansas. From January to late August of that year, I completed correspondence courses, pondered my errors, and hoped for redemption.  

Manual laborers and community elders, not college graduates, who were followers of Jesus, transformed that bleak time in my life.  Dad, Mom, and other followers of Jesus in my community were incandescent forces for me. Their faith in God’s grace was not only inspiring; it was infectious.  They told me and showed me what it means to “live as children of light.”

I learned from their lives and that experience that followers of Jesus are children of light—brilliant forces—for “all that is good and right and true” to people (and a world) shadowed by fear, guilt, despair, hate, sorrow, and anger. Those people taught me to shine in the strength of God’s love. They taught me to shine in the power of divine goodness. They taught me to shine in the irrepressible strength of divine joy. They showed me the transforming difference people who “live as children of light” make in relationships, during times of struggle, sorrow, fear, guilt, and despair.  Because of what they showed me, the Negro spiritual “This Little Light of Mine” has been special to me, from then until now.

Beloved, we are, by God’s grace, “children of light.” Let us “lean forward” as brilliant forces of God’s love, truth, joy, peace, liberty, justice, and hope, because we are light from God! Let us “lean forward” and shine as children of light in the power of the Holy Spirit! “Lean forward,” beloved, and shine!

Reflection
What people have been illuminating forces of God’s grace, truth, peace, and hope in your life?

Prayer
Light of love, hope, truth, peace, and joy, thank you for calling us into your fellowship!  Teach, guide, and strengthen us to live as children of light in every breath, every heartbeat, and every relationship, for your glory, we pray, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

By ©Wendell Griffen, 2015, Pastor
New Millennium Church, Little Rock

 

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