If you are sitting in a dark room,
and someone turns on the light.... you notice.
If you are watching TV late at night, and there are no lights on in the house...
and you turn the TV off.... it is dark.
If you wake up before the sun is up, and stagger to the bathroom,
and must turn on the light .... wow... is it ever bright... too bright.
We all have experiences with light and darkness.
Every Sunday we light a candle,
and proclaim that Jesus is the Light - the Light of the world.
One might think that lighting the Christ Candle is important,
since we do this every Sunday.
So what is the big deal?
Does it matter to anyone here... that we light a candle,
and make the statement.. that Jesus is the Light?
WHO THINKS IT MATTERS?
Any one care to say why?
(Microphone is passed around.)
Light is beautiful and mysterious—like God.
Light can be separated into many colors;
but no one knows if light is made up of particles or waves.
Beautiful and mysterious—like God.
In addition light has many functions so it is a good symbol for Jesus.
Light helps us see things.
Jesus helps us understand the truth about God
the truth about life, our origin, and our destiny.
Light guides us as we navigate life.
Jesus guides us as we navigate life.
Light promotes growth and life.
Jesus offers everlasting life.
Light warms and comforts.
Jesus welcomes us and calms us.
One small flame can change darkness... rid a room, even the world of darkness.
Jesus as an expression of God’s love,
can repel our darkness; Jesus can pull us into light.
The light came into the world, and the darkness cannot overcome it!
Lovely metaphors... but they leave out an important element.
Jesus is the light of the world....
Jesus is the light of life.... both the source and the one who illuminates.
the light of the Creator God among us,
and the one who is the light that shines within.
I have only fished once in my life.
Not that the fish were ever at risk of being caught.
I was 12.
My friend Cheryl and I held a bucket on a string, in the water beside the dock.
We had watched five or six fish swim there, and decided we could catch one.
We actually had little to do with the catching of the fish,
one simply swam into the bucket and was not smart enough
to swim out as we pulled the bucket up.
I remember we watched the fish swim around and around, for some time.
Then Cheryl and I went back in the water to swim some more.
When I came out and checked on the fish, it had pooped in the bucket,
which I thought was ‘icky’, so I threw the fish back into the water.
Cheryl was really mad at me.
She had named the fish and wanted to take it home.
I gave up fishing that day... or so I thought.
As a teen-ager, after declaring that would follow Jesus,
I was told I now had to fish for people.
In those early days as a Christian, I was not any better at fishing,
than when I was 12.
I would stick people in a bucket… (hear – judge people)
and if they ‘messed up’... I would throw them back in to the water.
I thought I was entirely responsible for catching them,
and I did not understand that a loving, gracious God,
is the one who draws them in and changes them from the inside out.
I think... I have learned a thing or two over the years.
I remember being told once that:
Jesus called ordinary people, right in the middle of their ordinary lives...
to do extraordinary things... and he still does.
Jesus called the two sets of brothers to be fishers of people.
We don’t know if Simon, Andrew, James and John knew Jesus,
or anything about Jesus.
One might suspect that they had heard about him.
One commentary I read said they might have been hearing about him,
for at least a year, before he wandered up and said: ‘Follow me.’
Were they impressed with his message, or with his charisma?
Did he have that energetic personality that you just could not refuse?
Was his message of love and justice and compassion... compelling?
Did just being around Jesus, make them feel alive and vital?
From the information we have in our Gospels,
Jesus didn’t spend much time talking about the specifics of the job.
He said, ‘Follow me’ ... and they followed.
And they followed immediately.
From what I know about the invitation to follow, Jesus wasn’t calling those four people to a job – he was calling them to a relationship.
It wasn’t about the work they would be doing,
it was all about the relationships they would be building ....
first... a relationship with him...
and ... then the real and deep relationships they would
create with the people they would meet every day.
Relationships. Face to face; heart to heart; spirit to spirit.
Jesus issues the same call to us –
to be in genuine and real relationships with the people around us.
To be in those relationships, the way Jesus was -
and is... in relationship with us: his disciples.
- bearing each other's burdens,
- caring for each other and especially the vulnerable,
- holding onto each other through thick and thin,
- always with the hope and promise of God’s abundant grace.
To be alive and vital and intentional, as followers of the Christ.
Jesus calls ordinary people, right in the middle of their ordinary lives...
to do extraordinary things.
In our relationship with Jesus, we will experience a deep joy,
that is beyond any other joy.
There is a love beyond words that frees and opens the soul.
And that relationship with the Christ, allows us to draw others into a caring, loving community of faith.
A place where together we can learn and question,
where we can act on faith and be honest about our doubts.
Where together we can find our souls, and give our hearts to God.
Where we can truly build a house where love can dwell,
and all can safely live, a place where saints and children,
tell how hearts learn to forgive.
A place where tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace,
happen safely and supported.
Where all are welcome, truly welcome.... ( More Voices Hymn #1)
and where we are learning
to be ALIVE...as followers of Jesus the Christ,
all standing together.... we are... Holy Ground. (MV #174)
Start a Fire!