Tuesday in Holy Week, April 7, 2020, John 12:20-36, “Children of the Light”

Gentiles_Ask_to_See_Jesus_001.jpg

Gentiles Ask to See Jesus, James Tissot, public domain, http://www.marysrosaries.com (painting prior to 1902)

“While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”  John 12:36 NRSV

In recent years one of the hymns I enjoyed singing and one which I taught to a children’s choir was “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” written by Kathleen Thomerson.  This hymn sings of following Jesus as a “child of the light” and the lyrics of the refrain tells us that in Jesus “there is no darkness at all.”  (See hymnary.com)

In fact in John 8 Jesus called Himself “the Light of the World” and if one follows Him, that person will “never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

In today’s gospel for Tuesday in Holy Week, Greeks asked to see Jesus.  At this meeting, Jesus spoke about His death.  He told the Greeks who had gathered to see Him to “believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”  So believing in Jesus, the Light of the World, we can reflect His love as we let our lights of faith shine in this world.

Since Jesus is our Light, our pathways to live faithfully and humbly are illuminated.  The roads which leads to service and sacrifice will be lit up so we can walk on them.  With Jesus our Light we can heed the words of St. Paul in Philippians 2:14-15 (NRSV):

“Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you “shine like stars in the world.”

Jesus calls us “children of the light” while St. Paul says that even in a perverse world we can “shine like stars.”  Now that is a message of hope in a world where viruses run rampant around the world, soldiers die in Afghanistan, domestic violence is too commonplace and human trafficking and opioid overdoses ruin lives.  We can faithfully “shine like stars” free to love God and our neighbors even though they are different from us.  With the light of the Holy Spirit shining within and around us, we do not complain but faithfully persevere in the midst of evil trying to bring us down into a life of sin, despair and doom.

From noon until three o’clock in the afternoon when Jesus was crucified outside of the walls of Jerusalem at Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, the sky turned dark.  The darkness seemed to bring a profound sense of loss with Jesus crying out, “It is finished” and then He “gave up his spirit.”  (John 18:30 NRSV)

Was all lost?  Did Jesus live for nothing?  Would He and His followers ever be remembered?  Or would Jesus’ Heavenly Father turn death and despair on its head and raise His only Son from the dead three days later?

With a victory over sin, death and the devil, the battle was won for our salvation early on the first day of the week.  With the battle won and with Jesus rising from the dead, we thank God for the grace He bestows upon us.

Now we can sing with joyful hearts the refrain of Thomerson’s hymn which reminds us that “In Him there is no darkness at all.”  And since there is no darkness of sin and the power of evil in Jesus’ heart, we can sing with confidence the final words of this hymn:  “Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.”

So indeed we shine as children of the light with the brilliance of the Lord Jesus in our hearts.

Thanks be to God!

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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