Let Us Enter Into The Light Of Christ
Fourth Sunday in Lent (B)
My dear encountered couples:
You’ve all heard about the drunk who was crawling around on the ground under a street light looking for something. “Let me help you,” said a passerby. “What is it you’re looking for?” “My car keys, said the drunk. “Where about did you lose them?” asked the man. “Over there somewhere.” He gestured toward the other side of the street. “Then why are you looking for them here?” asked the man. The drunk looked up at him as if he thought the man was daft. “Because it’s dark over there, and there’s plenty of light here.”
The drunk may have had a hard time finding his keys where he didn’t lose them, but he had enough sense to know it takes light. That’s the way people who are wise in spiritual things reason. It takes light to find their way to heaven. Though they lost their morals on the other side of the street where it is dark, they have to go where the light is to find them. And that light is Christ.
How many people, do you suppose, approach near to Jesus Christ in order to find their way to heaven? According to Jesus himself, not very many.
“The light came into the world,” Jesus said to Nicodemus. “The light came into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were wicked. Everyone who practices evil hates the light; he does not come near it for fear his deeds will be exposed. But he who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God.”
We all put things we’d rather not see into a closet, a drawer, the attic, the basement, maybe in the garage. We hide them in some dark place where they won’t bother us. Often, we do that with our sins, with our hidden selves, with the facts of our lives. Maybe it’s time we take those things out of our closets and drawers, get them down from our attics, bring them up from our basements, clean out our garages.
We are now halfway through Lent. It’s about time we get ourselves fully into the light of Christ, so we can see ourselves as we really are. Not as we would like other people to see us, not as we so often pretend to be, but as we are. It is time for all of us to come out of our dark closets and be seen by at least ourselves in the light that comes from Christ.
What is this light from Christ that I’m talking about? It is what happens when we place ourselves close to him, when we compare ourselves to him, when we listen to his teachings, study them, and then judge how well we have been living up to them. The light of Christ is his purity, his morality, his love for others, his perfection in all that is good - compared to ours. How close do we come to his likeness? Do we match up at all? Can we say we are like Christ even a little? Do we care to know? Do you?
People entrenched and committed to evil don’t want to be re-minded of how they match up to someone who is good, especially not to Christ or God. They prefer to live any which way they feel at the moment as long as it might get them what they want. They not only avoid church, they avoid all thoughts of Christ. They even ridicule church-going people, priests and preachers; they laugh at prayer, at the sacraments, at quotations from the Bible.
Many of them want reminders of Christ and God removed, not only from public property, but from every home in the world. They would like religion abolished from the face of the earth. They prefer to be left alone to live in the darkness of ignorance, rather than be disturbed by light that comes from knowledge of Christ.
But that’s not us, is it? Nobody here wants to remain in the dark, in ignorance, in sin. We have come to church to get closer to Christ. We have come to find out what it is we need to do in order to become better people. We want to know our defects, we want to face our sins, we want to see clearly deep down into ourselves, so we can clean out every nook and cranny of our souls.
Is your life what you want it to be? Do you treat the people you live with, work with, go to school with, socialize with, the way God your Father wants you to treat them? Do you even care for yourself with the respect and love he wants you to have for your-self? Your heavenly Father has given you his Son, so you can find out. He has given you his Spirit to help you become like his Son.
What has happened in fact is that God has turned on the brightest of all lights, so we can see ourselves and our worth clearly. It is like he has lit up the entire city block so that drunken man can see his car keys where they really are and not waste his time crawling around looking for them where they aren’t. No longer do we need to join that man in the gutter as we search for true happiness. Christ our light is shining brightly. All we have to do is let ourselves get in his light and find what we are looking for.
But there is something else we must also do. We must use the information we find in the light of Christ responsibly and maturely. If that drunken man finds his car keys, God forbid he should get into his car and drive. Let us hope he has wits enough about him that he waits until he sobers up or lets someone else drive his car for him. Only then will he be likely to benefit from having found his keys.
Similarly, when we find certain Christ-like qualities that we lack, it isn’t necessarily simple to reach out and insert them into our characters and begin living like Christ. We need help. For we are still accustomed to living as the world has taught us. We are still intoxicated, so to speak, with the values and ideas of the world. We need to pray, to ask, even beg the Holy Spirit to do whatever is needed to get our engines started and steer us up that road towards heaven. It is like we need Christ to be our headlights and the Holy Spirit our chauffeur. Getting our souls and our characters out of the closet into the light can be a shocking experience. And it takes time to get then into proper gear and working order. Are you willing to do all that that entails?
“The light came into the world,” Jesus said, “but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were wicked. Everyone who practices evil hates the light; he does not come near it for fear his deeds will be exposed. But he who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God.” Let us now try entering into the light of Christ.