60:1-6. The light of Christ has come into a dark world! 8/1/17
shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is
over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and
his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the
brightness of your dawn.
4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All
assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb
and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the
nations will come. 6 Herds of camels will cover your land, young
camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the
praise of the Lord.
This morning we
are reminded that in the midst of dark times God has promised that there is a light shining for us. As a result of Jesus coming into our world there is
hope and life for us, no matter what we face in life. So as Christians there is
always light at the end of the
Now it would
seem that again I am being rather pessimistic and gloomy. For surely we are
living at a time when we have got everything; and that by and large things
appear to be relatively peaceful. We have made great advances as a society
technologically. We are told that we have never had it so good. So why talk
about darkness and troubles?
Yet it is right
here in the midst of all of this positivity that we can see more and more the darkness growing. Despite all the talk
and promises, somehow we are growing more and more uncertain and restless.
Something is not right. Something is missing. The further we seem to go and the
more that we have, the worse it all becomes. What is wrong here?
Word is quite clear in this regard; when we make something our idol, instead of
it bringing blessing to us, it makes things far worse. Then it becomes even
worse when we make me, myself and I the idol. When what I want, do and have,
apart from God, is what we look for in order to be blessed and happy, we find
God’s curse instead of blessing.
into the Christian life and salvation as well. As we seek to do this life on
our own and by our own methods, it does not work. So doing good works in order
to be acceptable; changing God’s Word so that it is acceptable to our current
society and thinking; thinking of worship as being all about experiences and
what makes us feel good, rather than what we receive from God; and more, all
lead to frustration and darkness.
So the problem
is not the technological advances, or the things that we do in order to be
acceptable to God. But the fact that we look to and see them as what is going
to make us happy and acceptable, instead of looking to God himself, who is the
creator and giver of these things. We think that these things that I want, are
what will make us happy. Then we find that instead of life being easier for us
we have to work even harder to achieve that happiness that we want.
Then when we
find that we are not and cannot achieve this happiness and fulfilment that
should be there for us, we are consumed by blackness
and gloom. I would suggest that as we look around at all the suicides, drug,
alcohol and sex abuse and more, we see this growing darkness enshrouding our
We too, when we
look to find life and happiness apart from God, find that it is hard work, or
in the end it is futile and empty. In fact, more and more we are finding
instead of fulfilment in these areas, are finding the opposite. When we fail to
have God first in our lives, above and beyond what me, myself and I want, then
we quickly find that we run into trouble. When God is relegated to only a small
part of our lives we find a growing darkness
coming over our lives.
So we all need
to again hear this message that is before us. In the midst of this growing darkness there is a light that has come. A light
that truly gives light and hope in the midst of this world that has got
things so horribly wrong.
We are told
here: Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and
thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory
appears over you.
God has come
and given us a way through this fog and darkness
that enshrouds us. The Lord God himself has come to us. He hasn’t left us to
blindly go through life, desperately hoping that we are doing the right thing
and instead finding that we just can’t do it on our own. He has come to do
everything for us, so that we can have all the we need for this life and the
So his glory appears over us. Everything
that is good, right and useful is there in our midst freely available to us. We
don’t have to invent it, change it, do it by ourselves or any such thing. The
Lord God has come and seeks to give it all to us.
In these days
we have been reminded very clearly that God has come into our world in the
birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, at a particular point in history. This Jesus grew
up and did things that only God himself could do. He performed many, many
miracles; drove out evil spirits; Raised that dead back to life; forgave
peoples sins; and taught Gods Word simply and powerfully, as God would have us
Then he went to
Jerusalem and allowed himself to be killed on the cross. There he took the
punishment from God that we should have received because of our selfishness and
sin. In doings so forgiveness of sins, life and salvation is extended to us
all. He then is raised from the dead so that all can know for sure that what he
did on the cross was God’s will. Also there we can know that he was raised from
the dead so that he can live and reign for all to trust in him.
Through all of
this he reminded us all that his Word is reliable and true. What we have in the
Bible is all that we need to know with regard to the things that are important
for this life; for our salvation; and how to live in light of all that he is
and has done for us. We don’t need something more, extra or different than that
which we have in the Bible itself.
Along with that
he gave us baptism so that through it he could connect us to himself and the
forgiveness and salvation that he has won for us. He does the work there that
enables us to be sure that we have received all that he has won for us through
his death and resurrection.
As well as that
he gave us Holly Communion so that we again can be absolutely sure the Jesus
Christ is with us and there imparts forgiveness of sins, life and salvation to
us. So week by week we are reminded by God himself through Jesus Christ that he
is with us, and that in him and in connection with him we have all the we need
for this life and the next.
It all comes
with the presence of Jesus Christ himself. So it all comes to us in down to
earth, tangible ways that are easy to access. It is all there in the baby in
the manger; in his life as he moved among the people; in his suffering death
and resurrection; in his Word and the Sacraments. Everything that we need is
there to give light to our lives. Forgiveness,
life and salvation and much more is all there for us.
As we listen to
and receive the things that he has freely and simply given, we can know for
sure that everything will work out for good. It is only as we try to change,
add to, ignore or do these things apart from Jesus Christ, that it all comes
unstuck. Sadly, all too often our selfish pride comes to the fore and we will
not receive these things as a free gift. We want to think that what I do,
think, say, must be of some importance. The result then comes about that we do
not receive these gifts as blessings, because we try to achieve them in some
way because of our merit.
clearly the first and greatest commandment: ‘Hear,
O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
Lord God is all important. He comes first in our thinking, or else we place an
idol in his place; and so often that is we ourselves.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit as all important, then Jesus Christ and all that he
has done for us, is our only connection with him. He and his Word, the Bible, will
then be that which enlightens life for us.
Then we begin
to see the fulfilment of these words in our reading. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your
dawn. “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your
sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will
look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy;
places around the world we see this happening as people and nation willingly
receive what God has to give, as of first importance. The light of Christ has
brought many blessings to them, as it has to many others, throughout history.
So again God is true to his Word.
May we too,
live in his light and then receive
the wonderful blessings that he has in mind for us also. To him be all glory
and honour, now and always. AMEN.