Sights and Lights!
Sight and light are the themes we see in our readings this weekend. These two things go together well and describe our spiritual condition apart from God. In our Old Testament reading we hear about the Children of Israel being spiritually blind and in the darkness of their idolatry. God is faithful and promises to bring them back out of the darkness and to restore their sight. Paul tells us that we have been brought out of darkness and should live as children of the light. Finally in our Gospel reading we hear about Jesus healing a man who was born blind and exposing the spiritual blindness of the people around him.
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:14--21
Epistle: Ephesians 5:8--14
Gospel: John 9:1--41
Dial-a-Devotion -- January 31st
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today are verses from Psalm 135 which reads:
Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, 2 who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
13 Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
January is a hard month, isn’t it? It is a long 31 days. The days have started to get longer, but it still is dark for more of the day than we’d like. It is usually pretty cold and it comes right after the festive time of Christmas. We get tired of the darkness, we get tired of the cold, and we get tired of the snow.
With all of these things that we consider to be wrong with January (and the other winter months too) it can be difficult to think about being joyful and praising God. It is far easier to ask him why he keeps giving us snow and cold weather or to beg and plead for warmer weather, right?
This is why it is great that our text is the one that is appointed for today, the last day of January. The Psalmist is writing all about praising the Lord. This is a good reminder that need to hear regularly and especially in a month like January.
Why do we praise him? Is it because things always are going wonderfully in our lives? No, rather it is because God is good. It is because he is in control of the whole world. He makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, he makes the rain and the lightning and the snow and the wind. They’re all his creation.
As remarkable as that is though, it isn’t the end of the story. The last verses that are selected for today come from later in the Psalm, verse 13-14 to be exact. They tell us that God’s name endures forever and that he’s known throughout all time. Our God isn’t one that is just a flash in the night. He isn’t something that was just made up by a few random people who got together. No, he has been around forever and will be around for all of eternity. While he is ruling over all of creation he remains close with his creation, with you and with me and has compassion on his servants. This is great news. News that we can be thankful for and praise God for whether it is a dark, cold, snowy day in January or a bright sunny day in May. We can praise God everyday because he is faithful and loves us and cares for us. Praise be to God
Let us pray:
Dear father in Heaven, we praise you for your great faithfulness throughout all generations. Thank you for caring for us and for always providing for our needs in the cold of winter and the warmth of summer. Help us to always recognize your goodness and praise you for your great gifts that you give to us. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen
Dial-a-Devotion -- January 23rd
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is John 8:12 which reads:
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Have you ever been in the dark? Not just a little dark, but really, really dark? Last night I was driving back from Knob Noster on Highway 23 and it was really dark outside. There wasn’t a moon and the only light I saw was coming from my headlights and the occasional dusk-to-dawn light on a farm. Occasionally I got to a spot where if I had turned my headlights off I wouldn’t have been able to see anything at all.
Darkness like this can be pretty scary. I’m pretty sure it is because of the unknown. When you’re in the darkness you can’t see where you’re going, you can’t see what is around you, and you can’t see if there is anyone there. Because you can’t see any of these things you can’t be sure whether or not you’re going to be safe. During my trip last night I was thankful to be in a car and to have working headlights.
In our lives we have another kind of darkness that plagues us. One that won’t be overcome with headlights or flashlights. When we’re born, we’re born into the darkness of sin. It is a darkness that we’re not able to get out of on our own. In fact, our sinful selves actually enjoy the darkness. We like our sins because they’re fun and they’re comfortable. While they might be fun and comfortable, they separate us eternally from God and his love.
Without God and his love, we would be destined to spending eternity in our sin and in the darkness of sin. But God in his great love decided to send his son Jesus into the world to rescue us from our sins. Jesus was able to do this because he is perfect and in our text for today he tells us that he is the light of the world. He is the one who is able to break the darkness and bring us his light. He promises that whoever follows him won’t walk in the darkness anymore but will have the light of life.
When Jesus died on the cross he won for us the forgiveness of sins and the new life that allows us to live in the light of his love and no longer in the scary darkness of sin and death.
Let us pray:
Dear Father in Heaven, Thank you for sending your son Jesus, the light of the world, into the world to save us from our sins and bring us out of darkness into your marvelous light. Help us to share this light with those around us so that they may enjoy the light of your love too. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.