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Children of the Light

March 20, 2017

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light . . . and find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5: 8-10

One thing I do know that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25

Have you ever been in a dark place in your life—a time when you felt all alone in the world and no one cared about you?  This week’s psalm is a desperate prayer written by King David about the time when he was being persecuted and hunted down by Saul.  He was in a cave—a dark place—hiding from Saul and feeling very alone: “I cry aloud to the Lord, I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.  I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell him my trouble . . . No one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life . . . You are my refuge . . . Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me.” Psalm 142: 1, 4-6). David knew how it felt to be pursued by enemies who sought his downfall.   He was familiar with the dark places where we all have been in our lives.

This week’s Scripture lessons[1] are about moving from those dark places to places of light and hope.  These Scriptures acknowledge that despite our brave smiles and quick response of “Fine” to a friend’s inquiry, “How are you?”–that we are all hurting on some level at any given time. We are not always as fine as we let on. We worry about our work, our health, our kids, our relationships, and a myriad of other things.  God knows that, and he assures us that he is with us at all times–that when we seek him, he will lead us into the light. He will bring us out of the darkness of the problems that haunt us, and light our way along the path he wants us to take.  Jesus is the hope, the light of the world.

Isaiah 42 describes how the Messiah will come and rescue us.  He will gently pick us up and carry us from darkness, from our blind spots, and lead us to the truth that can withstand the scrutiny of sunshine: “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16.  You can’t help but think of the first few lines of the hymn Amazing Grace when you read the Scripture texts for this week:  “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I’m found.  Was blind but now I see.”

The Epistle lesson continues the theme of living in Christ’s light by warning us to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness.” Ephesians 5:11.  Fruitless deeds of darkness are activities that separate us from God–anything that cannot withstand the scrutiny of daylight, resulting in sin.

Pride is one blind spot that results in sin. The gospel lesson recounts the story of the blind man whose sight was restored by Jesus.  But the Pharisees were too proud—too jealous and threatened by Jesus’ powers–to accept that Jesus had given sight to this man who had been blind since birth. The blind man was cross-examined about it several times.  First, his neighbors questioned him.  Second, the Pharisees grilled him.  Third, the Pharisees questioned the man’s parents, who told them to ask him: “Ask him, he is of age. He will speak for himself” (John 9: 21).  Fourth, the Pharisees cross-examined the man again, and refused to believe him. Why? Because of their own blindness as to who Jesus was and their unwillingness to accept the truth.  They were threatened by Jesus’ power.  Have you been passed over and ignored because your hard work and good results made others jealous? Jesus knows how you feel.  You are not alone.

Amazing strides have been made in ophthalmology in recent years.  I have spoken to several people who have had cataract surgery.  Their before and after testimonials can be quite amazing.  I had a client in her 80’s when I was in private practice many years ago, who had very bad cataracts.  Her nephew finally convinced her to have cataract surgery, and I will never forget her exhilaration over her newfound sight.  That is the exhilaration we feel when we let Jesus’ light guide us to the path he has set before us.  He leads us out of our cold, dark caves into the light of faith to bask in the warmth of his love. Our journey to the light, to Jesus, is not always a straight and easy path.  There may be obstacles and setbacks along the way.  The Cubs finally won the World Series last fall after 108 years. What kept them going during more a century of disappointments?  Hope. Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  Keep the faith.   Keep your face turned toward the light.

Jesus is your hope. Hold on.  He’s coming for you.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan










[1] The Scripture texts for the Fourth Sunday in Lent are Psalm 142; Isaiah 42: 14-21; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41.


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