1 Samuel 16: 1-13
Ephesians 5: 8-14
Darkness is a constant in creations(we read of it in Genesis, as the creation epic unfolds; “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of Elohim/God was hovering over the waters.” 1:2), therefore we have darkness as an ever present reality in our world, and most assuredly in each of our individual separate lives.
Darkness has many faces and facets, there is dark emotions, dark thoughts, dark skies, dark times, dark clouds, to dark nights to name a few. In today’s reading we hear of a darkness of the spirit and darkness of life and living from the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, there is another reading for today out of the book of Joh that speaks of a young man born blind whom Jesus gives sight to, and that act of mercy begins a cavalcading of confrontations/accusations, so we have a physical darkness also.
Prolonged darkness is seldom if ever desirable, we over time come to realize we can adjust to darkness, so that hopefully we’ll not stump our toe, stumble or trip over something and fall, so we want light, we welcome. Light, we strive for light in our lives, and living. When you’re in a dark place in your life, and you’re having dark thoughts and ideas creeping onto your conscience, please began to move towards the light, make plans and take actions to do such. Do those things, even just the small things, like a phone call to someone you enjoy talking to, look at pictures that put a smile on your ace, and in your heart, take a leisure walk, taking a shower or bath, whatever little activities and events you enjoy make a plan to do it, then this is important “DO IT.”
So, what exactly do we have happening and occurring with Paul’s epistle/letter to the Ephesians this morning, I submit to you it’s about enduring, it’s about change, it’s about opposites, it’s about transformation? Paul often speaks opposites, sin and righteousness, life and death, light and darkness.
Remember the encounter Nicodemus had with Jesus earlier, where Jesus told Nicodemus one must be born again, and not by physical re-entering a womb, telling Nicodemus that ‘that born of the flesh is flesh, and that born of the spirit is spirit.” That no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without being born of water (baptism), and spirit (Holy Spirit of God). This encountered was followed by the woman, the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus asked if she would give him a drink of water? Jesus offered her living waters (waters that would gush up to heaven and eternal life) from which she and her whole village would never thirst from.
And Jesus concluded by saying its not where, the location-or-locale that is important, where you worship God, but that you worship God in spirit and truth, for God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.” All of these encounters are about transformation, about walking away from, moving away from the darkness and coming into the light of God through Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
“The One who takes away the sins of the world, the One who is the truth and the light, and that no one comes to the Father except by Him.” We have these themes, water and spirit, light and darkness, life and death, suffering or transformation!
In the earlier portions of Ephesians Paul is speaking about how people live, there were ways you may have lives prior to acceptance of God and Christ Jesus, Paul says leave that way of life and being behind you!
Paul spoke of this same principle and approach to life to the people of the Church of Corinth, when he wrote; Therefore if anyone is in Christ Jesus, they are a new creature, the old, the former things have passed away, and behold , all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Paul writes; “formerly, you were darkness, and now (understood “you are”) light. The transformation happens because now they are “in the Lord.” Since Christ is a source of light — and that should determine how they walk about (peripatew) — in other words, how they live, what they think, feel, say, and do.
Because the light of Christ has come, the Ephesians have been radically transformed, and they have a call, just as each of us have as heirs of God’s salvation. We have a responsibility, to usher in the shining of God’s light upon others so they too can be transformed. Moving into the light brings initial pain to the eyes, and the cultivation of fruit takes effort, but the transition is worth it.
Transition is not easy often times is requires effort, it requires seeing things in a different way, doing things in a different way to get and arrive at that new location, status or condition, leaving that old former way and becoming a new creature, a new creation.
The other Scripture reading for this week comes out the book of John 9:1-41, it is a rather long reading but allow me to provide a short synopsis of the text. A young person blind since birth is sitting, Jesus’ disciples ask him predicated on what was normal thought for those times, who sinned this man, or his parents?
Jesus takes handful of dirt mixes his saliva with it, applies it to the blind man’s eyes, instructs him to go wash in the pool of Siloam(name meant-sent, and which was thought to have healing/medicinal powers), and upon now having received his sight, the ruckus starts!
Instead of being happy for him, being joyful and getting in a celebratory. Mode or mood, his neighbors question him negatively, they now have suspensions as to who he is, was he really blind? Being so upset they take him to the Pharisees for when one’s condition changes Hebrew world, in the ancient Hebrew world you could only be re-incorporated after review by the ruling council, or high priest.
Anytime you were placed on the outs or perimeter of the community ones only way back was through the priesthood. So there things got testy, Beginning at v:14 we read; Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
The lesson here is don’t be trapped, controlled and held hostage to thinking that is limited, to seeing and understanding something from only a controlling and limiting way. The good, the right, the light, the love will always break forth, look for it, be wise and realistic in your search and pursuit of the truth. Not just your truth, but the truth of the righteousness of God.
Let us continue with this encounter, again remember we’re talking about darkness, from being blind to now having sight, from being before a beggar(the former) to now someone with a brighter more opportune future and existence. But the accusatory accusations continue, they asked; “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened. ”The man replied, “He is a prophet.” They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
The young man’s parent’s fearful of repercussions, and it’s understandable given the power and ability the Pharisees council had offered a measured response to their questioning, concerning their son’s blindness. He no longer dwelled in darkness, physically and figuratively, yet those of his community were now blind, or being let to a blindness and darkness because God had as Jesus said when he was originally asked who had sin, the young man or his parents as he was born blind? Remember Jesus’ response;
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night(darkness) is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” There are things in our past and in our presence, and in the future humankind that will from time to time appear to be beyond us, that doesn’t mean we do not utilize our knowledge, technology, collected experience/wisdom, gifts and talents to address and resolve them.
So I close with something I’ve shared in the past, and will again I the future. And that is, “We have to go through it, to get to it.” To get to peace, we have to go through our fears, our doubts, our internal wars. To get to a transforming encountering with Jesus, we have to go through whatever it is, that serves to separate you from the love and assurance of God, that is found in Christ Jesus. To get out of the darkness and into the light, the light and life of Christ Jesus, we have to go through our valleys, be they valleys of the shadow of death, valleys o the shadows of darkness, to get the light of new, better and brighter day, we must journey through it, our darkness to get to the light.