Aloha Friday Message – November 7, 2014 – Illuminate

1445AFC110714 – Illuminate

Read it online here, please.

Hebrews 10:32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight with afflictions; King James 2000 Bible

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. New International Version

But you must continue to remember those earlier days, how after you were enlightened you endured a hard and painful struggle. International Standard Version

John 1:5, 9The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. He was the true light that enlightens everyone coming into the world.

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:14a, 16b“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

You can probably see what’s on my mind today. Yes, the Light. Have you ever heard – or said – a sarcastic remark like, “Oh really? Why don’t you enlighten me?” We might say to someone, “Let me see if I can shed a little light on the subject.” These kinds of statements came to mind as the midterm election results were made known. I felt that some of the results were really disappointing, and in those matters where I felt that way, the proponents of those measure or supporters of those politicians seemed to smugly contend it was they who had been in the right all along implying I was the stupid one for opposing their superior wisdom. And then I realized that getting my way might not be what God had in mind.

It certainly turned out that way for the Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They thought they had it all figured out and were adamant about not changing their outlook on life or their hold on the populace. Jesus really messed up their game plan, and from their point of view, God was doing exactly the right thing by getting Jesus out of the way. Of course, we are enlightened by the Gospel and know that God’s plan was to have Jesus’ way be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It’s always easier to believe you’re right when you’re sure the other fellow is wrong. That strategy always works well – in the dark! “In the Light of Day,” things can look a lot different. It’s “putting things in the right light” that frequently fumbles us into foolishness. That’s because we often think that it’s our light that is the right light. We forget that God is only interested in One Light – HIS. That is the only Light which illuminates our hearts and minds so that the Light of The Spirit becomes the Light of our lives. It is the Light of Love ≡ God.

I know you’re a busy person, and you have a lot of demands on your time. Still, I’m going to ask you to read the entire tenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. This is such an important letter! It is masterfully written and portrays Christ as the sole mediator between God and all earthlings. This chapter describes how the sacrifices made by the Priests under The Law were inadequate insofar as having redemptive power. He demonstrates that there is no longer any need for that kind of sacrificial offering because Christ’s sacrifice atones for all sin. The enlightenment, illumination, of which Paul speaks comes through Baptism and the Word. While at some point the recipients of this letter had endured persecution and loss of wealth, prestige, and security, Paul urges them to persevere, to hold on to the truth, or we might say to stay in the Light of His Glory and Grace.

If we have the Light, then we should have no need for Darkness; if we possess the Truth but renounce our allegiance to that Truth though our actions and words, it is unlikely – in Paul’s view – that we will return to the Truth and are therefore even more liable to severe judgment. There is One who is Light; if we try to take the place of that light instead of being placed in the Light, we commit a huge offense. As Paul says in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Sometimes we are so sure that we must be right that we put ourselves in the position of saying God is wrong. When we think about that, it sounds like a really stupid thing to do; but we do it. Remember what Isaiah said: Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? (Isaiah 40:13-14) That brings to mind one of my favorite aphorisms: If you really knew as much as you think you know, you’d know it’s not enough. How can it be then that Christ in the Light of the World, and so am I?

LightOfTheWorldIn John 9:4-5, Jesus says, “We must work the works of him who sent mewhile it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” And up at the beginning of this essay we have John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” To follow him, we must follow in the light for in the darkness no one can see where he’s going (see John 12:35“You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.”) When the Light is in us, we carry it and thereby share it. We should therefore always pray that our own darkness will not obscure the Light given to us. There’s a great little hymn that conveys that idea:

 

OPEN MY EYES, THAT I MAY SEEMusic and Text: Clara H. Scott, 1841-1897
1 Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
ChorusSilently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit Divine!
2 Open my ears that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.
3 Open my mouth and let me bear
Tidings of mercy everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.
4 Open my mind that I may read
More of Thy love in word and deed;
What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
Only for light from Thee I plead.

Light-of-the-World_1433-1024x768The illumination we need comes to us via the Holy Spirit, the LORD, the Giver of Life and Light. Even if we have days when we have to endure “a hard and painful struggle,” the Light is also our strength and guide. It is the Light of Love, the brightest and best of all Light. When his Light shines from you, you can live out the Gospel as in Matthew 5:14a, 16b“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

 

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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