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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Scriptural Readings: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps. 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21

My dear encountered couples:

Jesus told Nicodemus about the light that came into the world to expose the evil of wickedness and to make clear that which is good. He was speaking about himself. Jesus is the Light that has come into the world to show us the way to heaven.

Jesus and his teachings are meant to enlighten our minds so that we can see what is good and what is evil in us. In the light of his teachings we can begin to see ourselves as we are, we can discover the true value of our actions. Are they good, or are they bad? Are they virtuous, or are they sinful? Without his teachings, without learning the teachings of Christ we are more than likely to remain in ignorance about the true condition of our character.

Have you ever noticed that the sun shines down on us during the summer from almost directly above while in the fall it begins to shine on us from an angle? People who drive cars learn that from experience; they get blinded sometimes by the sun shining in their eyes. The sun continues shining at an angle all through the winter and into the early springtime.

Did you notice the windows of your house last fall? Not as clean as you thought they were, were they? It seems that the windows we think are clean all summer long suddenly become filmy and filthy. The reason for that, of course, is because we didn’t notice the dirt until the rays of the sun began hitting the windows at an angle, exposing every little speck that began landing on them soon after we cleaned them last spring. Are you among those who immediately cleaned your windows when the sun exposed their condition in the fall? Or have you been putting it off until later? Are the windows of your house still filmy and filthy?

How about your soul? How about your character? How are your emotional, intellectual, and moral qualities? Is it in pretty good shape? Or is there something yet to be desired? In the brightness of Christ, in the light of his teachings how do you come out? Looking good? Or looking bad?

If looking bad, if looking sinful, have you been cleaning yourself up since you’ve noticed? Or like those windows, have you been putting off the job till later?

The calendar is trying to tell us it is now later than we think. It is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Only three more weeks out of the six and a half weeks of Lent remain for us to get ourselves spruced up for Easter. Will you be ready? Will you look good not only on the outside but even to the very depths of your soul when Good Friday and Easter Sunday come around?

I’m asking lots of questions, aren’t I? Whoops! There went another one. What I am trying to do is make us all think, make us all examine ourselves in the light of the teachings of Christ and see how we measure up. Our lives are slipping away. The days, the months, the years are rolling by. Those of us who put things off until later years find that those later years just don’t seem as long as they once did.

For those of us who have celebrated many birthdays time seems to move along like an out of control freight train. For those not familiar with trains - the speed of a jet!

There are oh, so many things that take up our time! We are busy, busy, and busy. We not only can’t seem to find any time for the windows, we don’t seem to be able to find any time to pray. To really get serious about studying and learning the teachings of Christ and putting them into action often remains an intention for the future. Our growth in the goodness of God and in the likeness of Christ is put on hold.

Like married couples who want to hold off having a baby until they are financially secure, many Christians put off making God the center of their lives until they try out some of the other various lifestyles. And then, perhaps, they find it is too late - leaving the married couple without a child, and the Christian without ever having really become a child of God.

If we wait until everything in life is as we would like it to be, we will wait forever. If we place not only the important but even the essential things of life last on our list of things to do, we will more than likely never get to doing them. We live just so long, you know. The essential must come first in our lives, the important next, and then should follow our desires, wishes, and dreams.

God is essential to us. God must come first on our list of that which must be attended too. Neglect God and his will and you might as well have never been born. Ignore God and you will find that no matter what you gain in this life, it won’t be long and you’ll find yourself empty-handed - forever! Study history. Find out what was important to all the people of the past. Then ask yourself, “Where are they now? Living happily with God, or living in an endless nightmare?”

Jesus is the light who came into the world to show us the condition of ourselves, to give us a chance to clean up what we find dirty, to purify what we find immoral. There is a lot of talk these days about cleaning up the polluted and contaminated environment we live in. How about cleaning up the polluted and contaminated souls that live in our bodies? Let us do our utmost to wipe clean anything that spoils the quality of ourselves. Study the teachings of Christ. Practice them every day.

“The judgment in question is this:” Jesus tells us. “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 it clear that his deeds are done in God.”

Take a look at your windows when you get home. Take a look at yourself right now!

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