Being Stewards of the Light ... Jesus

Being Stewards of the Light … Jesus

Light … whether it be during the day or at night … we often take it for granted, which in turn means we rarely appreciate its power and significance for our lives.  I walk in the early morning.  The slightest ray of light gives me confidence that I will be able to spot any skunk in my path rather than both of us being surprised by the other!

Light is also one of the by-products of electricity, and there is nothing like a trusty flashlight when one’s electrical power is interrupted.  Of course, the batteries in the flashlight will eventually need to be replaced or recharged, if you want that flashlight to continue to penetrate the darkness.

Admittedly, we are spoiled because we have abundant light for our lives through the sun and the flick of a switch.  Yet, even the small flicker of one candle’s light amidst black darkness helps us feel safe and able to see and navigate.

 The Church Year presently finds us in the time of Epiphany … a season of light.  Sometimes we associate that light with the star that led the wisemen to the manger in Bethlehem.  In fact, though, the light we celebrate, in this season that falls after Christmas and precedes Lent, is none other than Jesus.  Our Sunday morning Gospel readings in these months of January and February focus on Jesus and how he is God’s light of love and forgiveness, grace and mercy for our world.

If only you and I in this twenty-first century could be re-empowered by the reality of the power and the force of Jesus’ light within our lives!  More often than not it seems we feel intimidated and depressed because of Christianity’s loss of prominence in today’s world.  Our values, our traditions, our faith practices are no longer in the mainstream of life and are marginal in importance within our culture, if at all.  But we need not be timid followers of Jesus!  Remember … the impact of the smallest of lights is profound; and we are people of the eternal light, Jesus Christ, God’s Son … and that holy light promises to penetrate even the deepest and blackest darkness! 

My partners we are stewards of that light and our calling is to let it shine!  In reality though, our spirituality and our faith in Jesus may be … and sometimes are … thin and somewhat shallow.  That is why I am inviting all of us to deepen our relationship with Jesus, the light of the world, through a time of study and reflection in the present Epiphany and upcoming Lent and early Easter seasons.  Using Scripture and the seven faith practices of worship, study, prayer, serve, encourage, invite, and give I am hoping we might emphasize anew a Spirit-inspired discipline of deepening and reinvigorating our life of faith with Jesus.

“Faith,” states Martin Luther, “is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace so certain that you could stake your life on it one thousand times.  This kind of trust in and knowledge of God’s grace makes a person joyful, confident and happy … This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith.”  What an inspiration the Holy Spirit is!  What a gift the light of Christ is!  What a wonderful opportunity we have to be conductors of that light!  What potential this journey together in Epiphany, Lent, and Easter 2013 offers! 

No matter how vital and vibrant or thin and uncertain our present faith relationship with Jesus may be; if we are going to be faithful conductors of the light of Christ, we need moments to renew, to deepen, to grow, and to be nurtured by Jesus’ light and life in our own lives.  Therefore, I hope you will positively respond to your pastor, associate in ministry, or synodically authorized minister when they invite you into a time of deepening your spirituality and renewing your faith; that we might continue to burst into our darkened world as joyful, confident, and happy disciples!  It is in those moments that you and I reflect Jesus’ words in Matthew … “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”.  Christ be our light, that we may shine brightly!                          

+Bishop Gregory