Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
On Tuesday evening, January 30, the St. John men’s group, the Promise Keepers, had an interesting gathering. First, the wind was blowing and gusting so that it was difficult to venture out. However, four of us did brave the elements and make it to our study. We began with prayer and talked a little. We were just about to go to the computer to look at Lesson Two in a Lutheran Hour Ministries video Bible study when “it” happened. A gust of wind must have hit a power line somewhere. The lights in the church went out around 7:45 p.m.
With the lights and the power out, we could not use the video for the Bible study. But, maybe the lights would come back on. So we waited, and discussed issues of life and faith in the darkness. And, we waited and we discussed. Finally, about 25 minutes later we decided we would not get to the Bible Study that night, so we discussed prayer needs, and we prayed. After a half an hour in the dark we headed for home.
As we left and locked up I mentioned some about our evening session without light, in darkness. Eric Wyatt corrected me. “The lights may have been out, but we had The Light.”
Eric’s statement got me to thinking about what the Bible says about light and darkness. Did you know there are 158 verse that talk about “darkness” in the New International Version translation of the Bible? As I read through these verses I found a common theme. Darkness is characteristic of sin, and judgement, and those who live and act in disobedience to God. Living in darkness is the result of a sin in our world. But, God brings light to those in darkness, especially through His Son, Jesus. Jesus, brings us righteousness before God through His own righteous life and His sacrificial, forgiving death. Jesus, the Son of God and our Savior, gives us life through His victorious rising from the dead. As we know and believe in Jesus, as we follow Him, we receive the light of God in place of the darkness in our lives.
I spent time studying the teaching of Scripture on light and darkness. I ask you to please consider with me just some of the truth God reveals through the contrast of light and darkness.
In Isaiah 9:2 we are told, The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. In Matthew 4 God reveals that the light which dawns in the land of darkness is Jesus Himself.
In the first five verse of the Gospel of John, God contrasts the power and life and light we have in Jesus, with the darkness in which this rebellious world lives. 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5) Like the flipping of a switch to turn on the lights in a dark room, Jesus burst on the world bringing light and life.
Jesus speaks about Himself to the leaders of His day, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12 b ) If you read on in this section of Scripture, however, you see the leaders immediately challenged Jesus.
Finally, in the Epistle reading assigned for this Sunday, for Transfiguration Sunday, God inspired Paul to write in 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. In Jesus, light shines out of darkness. In Jesus we are given the knowledge of the glory of God.
I believe that, in a way he did not even realize, Eric was correct in his statement. No one likes to be in darkness. It is hard to see and maneuver in the dark. Alaskans know how continued darkness can create gloom and depression. But, our men’s group gladly sat in the darkness and discussed God’s love and God’s power. Even in the darkness of that evening, the light of Jesus was shining in our midst.
It is only early February in Alaska. The hours of light are beginning to lengthen so we know the time of long daylight is coming. But, for now we still experience many more hours of darkness than light. In many ways our spirits are anxiously waiting for that time of light. Perhaps Alaskans can understand even more what Jesus means when he tells us, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
A Child of God, Seeking to Walk in the Light of the Love and Life Found in Jesus,
P.S. At the end of today’s e-mail message I have chosen some more of these Scripture verses about darkness and light copied them so you can read and see some of what Scripture says.
P.P.S. The St. John Elders met with DCE intern Ethan Mirly on January 25 at the home of Ron and Ann Marie Svedin. Here are a couple of pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/SWyZ7CWonlbl4tEi2
P.P.P.S. I finally got to go ice fishing this year. St. John DCE Intern, Ethan Mirly, and Our Redeemer DCE intern, Alex Parker, also joined me. Here are a couple of pictures from that trip. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ETXD0lJtB7G7wW132
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.