The Season of Creation, Week 2, Year A

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
First Sunday in Advent, Year B December 3, 2017 First Sunday of Advent, Year B Mark 13:24-37
Christ the King, Year A November 26, 2017 Christ the King Year A Matthew 25:31-46
Thanksgiving, Year A November 22, 2017 Thanksgiving, Year A Psalm 65
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A November 19, 2017 Proper 24, Year A Matthew 25:36-37
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A November 12, 2017 Proper 27, Year A Matthew 25:1-13
All Saints, Year A November 5, 2017 All Saints’ Day, Year A Matthew 5:1-12
Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, Year A October 29, 2017 Proper 25, Year A Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Matthew 22:34-46
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A October 22, 2017 Proper 24, Year A Isaiah 45:1-7, Psalm 96, I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A October 15, 2017 Proper 23, Year A Isaiah 25:1-9, Psalm 23, Philippians 4:1-9, Matthew 22:1-14
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A October 8, 2017 Proper 22, Year A Isaiah 5:1-7, Matthew 21:33-46
The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year A October 1, 2017 The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year A Matthew 6:25-33
The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year A September 24, 2017 The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year A Leviticus 25:1-7, Hebrews 4:1-11, John 6:1-15
The Season of Creation, Week 3, Year A September 17, 2017 The Season of Creation, Year A, Week 3 Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Psalm 65, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Matthew 6:19-24
The Season of Creation, Week 2, Year A September 10, 2017 The Season of Creation, Year A, Week 2 Job 38:1-18, Psalm 139, Romans 1:18-25, Matthew 5:13-16
The Season of Creation, Week 1, Year A September 3, 2017 Season of Creation 1, Year A Job 37:14-24,Psalm 130,Revelation 4,Matthew 8:23-27

 

The Season of Creation, Week 2, Year A

Sermon Date:September 10, 2017

Scripture: Job 38:1-18, Psalm 139, Romans 1:18-25, Matthew 5:13-16

Liturgy Calendar: The Season of Creation, Year A, Week 2


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We must have the light of the sun to live!

So no wonder that when God spoke creation into being, the first thing God called into existence, on the first day, was light. 

And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light day, and the darkness God called night.  And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 

What God created after that first day needed light to live and grow and thrive in its part of creation. 

So that’s why God said, before anything else, “Let there be light!”

And there was light. 

Our bodies benefit from sunlight. 

Sunlight and the Vitamin D our bodies produce when we are out in the sun can help us to ward off a whole raft of diseases including diabetes, MS, and colon and bowel cancers. 

Sunlight gives us more energy, increases fertility, helps skin conditions, and even helps us lose weight. 

And sunlight can help us feel better emotionally.  Sunlight boosts the happy hormone, serotonin, in our bodies.  Adequate sunlight can prevent seasonal affective disorder.  We feel more upbeat when the sun is shining.  https://sunfriend.com/blogs/news/48281409-15-reasons-why-the-sun-is-good-for-you

But we need light for more than our physical and mental wellbeing. 

In today’s reading from Job, when God is speaking to Job out of the whirlwind, God reminds Job that light, God’s creation, brings with it clarity, a clearness of vision not possible in the dark. 

Have you ever tried to get dressed in predawn light?  Unless you already know what color a piece of clothing is, you’ll find that almost everything has a certain grayness to it until dawn arrives and light increases.  Only as the sun comes out do the colors of the clothes in our closets become bright and clear.  We can see more clearly in the light. 

And God points out that in the light, evil is less likely to take hold because we can see it for what it is—evil.  God explains this fact to Job so poetically.

“Job, in your lifetime have you commanded the morning, informed the dawn of its place so that it would take hold of earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it?” 

And then God goes on to say this about light.

“Light is withheld from the wicked, the uplifted arm is broken.”

Paul picks up on this theme of the wicked lacking God’s light in their lives when as he spells out to the Romans that we are all sinners, no exceptions. 

Paul says that God has shown us who God is, the creator of the universe.  Look around!  We can see God’s sovereignty. Studying creation makes God’s power, might and sovereignty visible. 

One recent example for me—seeing the total solar eclipse!  Only God could orchestrate such a line-up of the sun, moon and earth and have the moon be exactly the right size and the right distance between the earth and the sun to create a total eclipse. 

But even though we know that God is Creator of the Universe, and that God is God, and we are not, Paul points out that we don’t honor God or give thanks to God, but we have become “futile in our thinking, and our senseless minds are darkened.”  We convince ourselves that we are in control and we ignore God, and that’s when we lose God’s light.    

The Psalmist reminds us in today’s Psalm, Psalm 139, that God, who searches us and knows us intimately, uses even the dark times in our lives as healing times.  Gerald May says that God works in the soul in secret and in darkness, because if we fully knew what was happening, and what it would eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.  (Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, Thursday, September 7, 2017)

When we feel, as today’s psalmist does, that darkness is covering us, and even the light around us has become as dark as night, we must remember, that to God, even our darkest darkness is not dark, the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to God.  Along with the Psalmist, we can trust that God can use even those dark times in our lives to bring us back into the light.       

John writes in the prologue of the fourth gospel, his own version of creation, that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 

For John, the Word is not only God’s spoken word that brought creation into being in the beginning. 

The Word is also divine wisdom, the principle of reason that gives order to the universe and links the human mind to the mind of God (footnote on John 1:1 in The HarperCollins Study Bible). 

John says that “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Later, in Chapter 8 of John’s gospel, Jesus says of himself, “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)

So far, I’ve talked about two kinds of light–

the created light of God that makes life on this earth possible for our physical bodies, and contributes to our emotional well-being,  

and Jesus, God’s Son and our Lord, who is light and gives to us, his followers, the light of life.

But even with these two powerful sources of light in God’s creation, another powerful source of light is still not fully tapped, still not shining at its brightest intensity.   And for God’s kingdom to come on earth, as we pray in the Lord’s prayer, that source of light also needs to shine out. 

We are the third piece of this trinity of light.

Jesus tells us, his followers, that now we are the light of the world.

This simple statement sends chills through me.

I?  I am the light of the world?  I thought that job belonged to Jesus.  After all, he said it of himself.

But Jesus is so daggone generous.  So Jesus tells us that we get to be the light of the world too!

Jesus expects us, the light of the world, to be agents of health, and healing.

Jesus expects us to contribute to the spiritual and emotional well being of this world by respecting the dignity of one another and loving our neighbors as ourselves, to be agents of love in this world by being light.  Have you ever noticed how your own emotional well being improves when people treat you kindly? 

Here’s a quick and tiny example—last Wednesday, a cool, dreary and off and on rainy day, when I was feeling tired and sleepy, like a dimly burning wick, Salli Hartman and I went to Sheetz for coffee after visiting the Bowmans.  We got our coffee and went to the counter to pay, and the young woman behind the counter said to us, “Your coffee is free today.”  We offered to pay, but she was insistent.  Smiling, she said again, “Your coffee is free today.”  So we said thank you and went back out into the chilly gray day.  I felt that this young woman had transformed a simple cup of coffee into a cup of light and love that I cradled in my hands and that helped me to brighten up and to be light again.   

Jesus also expects us, the light of the world, to be the ones who, by showing God’s light, expose evil and work for justice and peace.

Bishop Curry, in his sermon at St Paul’s Memorial in Charlottesville on Thursday afternoon, talked about Christians and other people of goodwill who came to offer a non-violent presence in the chaotic demonstration and its aftermath that took place in Charlotte on  August 12th

In the darkness of night on August 11th, the neo-Nazis paraded through Charlottesville and the UVA campus with flaring tiki torches, shouting out their hate.  They fit Paul’s description.  Their senseless minds were darkened. 

And the next day, only a few hours after dawn on a cloudy morning, the Christians and other people of good will gathered and sang “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine” as they offered a non-violent peaceful presence to oppose the darkness of hate that was present in the crowd that day.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

That’s our job as Christians, to be people of love in the face of hate, to be people of action in the face of indifference, to be the light in the darkness.

Before every flight I’ve ever been on, someone on the plane provides safety instructions.  And one of the instructions involves light.  If the plane should go dark, and people must find the exit, a small row of lights along the aisles light up.  And each of these little lights combine to show people who are scared to death the way to safety.

That’s our role in this world as the light of the world, little lights working together to show the way to the Father, to safety and to new life. 

Every Sunday, we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, as it already is in heaven.  That prayer has not been answered yet. 

And until God’s kingdom does come on earth, Jesus has given us a job to do.

Jesus tells us, “You get to be the light that shines in the darkness.”

You get to the be the lights that mark the pathway of love through the chaotic rubble that hate leaves in its wake. 

You get to be the light in the world that gives glory to God.

We can’t be light all by ourselves.  But do not worry.  God, the Creator of the universe and Jesus, the light of the world, will always replenish our light in one way or another when we become dimly burning wicks. 

So when you leave here today, give thanks to God for sunlight. 

Give thanks for Jesus, the light of the world.

Give thanks for the trust that God puts in us by expecting us to be God’s light in the world.   

And then  let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.  

Amen

Resources: https://sunfriend.com/blogs/news/48281409-15-reasons-why-the-sun-is-good-for-you

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation  https://cac.org/dark-night-of-the-soul-2017-09-07/

Harper Collins Study Bible, page 1816, footnote on John 1:1.

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