This Epiphany it’s time to bask in the sunshine of God’s love and to shine that light on others.
Richard E. Lauersdorf
It was dark inside our tent. We had set up in a primitive campground in a national park. The evening sky was overcast as we crawled into our sleeping bags. Wouldn’t you know it—in the night one of the kids had to go to the bathroom. Good thing we had a large flashlight to light the way to the outdoor facilities. Light in the darkness is what we needed and had.
SHINE ON ME
The Epiphany festival speaks also of light in the darkness. Only this darkness is more dense and this light more brilliant than in our campground that night. When Isaiah wrote in 60:2 that “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,” he wasn’t referring to an overcast sky or midnight lack of light. He had in mind the sin that enveloped the world like some toxic cloud and the fatal spiritual condition of the human heart. When he spoke of the “light [that] has come,” he was referring to the glory of God’s love, the light that shines in full radiance around the cross of Christ.
Some seven hundred years before Bethlehem and Calvary, Isaiah was writing as if he were hearing the Savior proclaim, “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). When Isaiah prophesied “nations will come to your light” (Isaiah 60:3), it was as if he were in the temple that day when Simeon described the Christ Child as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32).
Just as sin’s darkness envelops all, so God’s light of salvation in Christ is also for all, Jew and Gentile alike. That’s the message of the Epiphany festival. It began with wise men from the East. Later it was the woman at the well of Samaria; the centurion whose servant needed healing; the Greeks who came looking for Jesus; the countless others over the centuries from every land and language, color, and culture. And me!
This Epiphany it’s time for me to bask in the sunshine of God’s love. Perhaps I’ve been there so long that I take it for granted. Perhaps sin’s darkness doesn’t look so dense and my salvation so brilliant that I don’t appreciate the light of God’s love as fully as I might. Epiphany is a good reminder to pray, “Lord, thank you for Jesus, my Light and my Salvation. Lord, let your light shine brightly on me.”
SHINE FROM ME
When Isaiah urges us to “arise, shine,” he’s reminding us that God wants us to shine with that light to those around us. Like using the flashlight that night in the campground, we are to shed clear light on the pathway to heaven for others. Where better to start than in my home? What better gift could I desire for my loved ones? Or for my neighbors, fellow church members, friends, and acquaintances. And what about the millions across my country and my world? With my prayers and offerings I can help send others to tell them about my Jesus, the light of the world. Like some solar panel I can soak up the Sonshine and help pass it on to others.
At my age I no longer use that camping flashlight, and I surely don’t miss sleeping on the ground in some darkened tent. But I still need the brilliant light of salvation shining on me through God’s Word. And as long as the Lord leaves me here, may he use me to shine with that light to others.
Richard Lauersdorf is pastor at Good Shepherd, West Bend, Wisconsin.
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Author: Richard E. Lauersdorf
Volume 103, Number 1
Issue: January 2016
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