Summary: March 5, 2006 Communion Meditation and the first sermon of the 2006 Lenten Series
(Introduction to meditation was from Creative Communications for the Parish’s dramatic introduction, ‘This Lenten Road: The Road to Damascus’ © 2004 by Creative Communications for the Parish.)
(1) Many years ago along one of our coasts a Navy Captain looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send this message "Alter your course 10 degrees south."
Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north." This made the captain very angry because his ship was the flagship of the task force and the admiral, his commanding officer had just come to the bridge.
So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south—this is Captain ‘So and So’ of the USS ‘So and So’! The Admiral noticed the Captain’s demeanor had become agitated and began to pay attention to the unfolding events and communication.
A quick response from the other vessel was received. "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am seaman third class Jones.” This enraged the Captain even more and made him more aware of his CO’s increasing interest in what was taking place.
Immediately the Captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south—this is the USS ‘So and So’ a battleship."
There was a noticeable delay in response. Finally after a nearly 60 second pause this reply came. "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse." The battleship changed course.
(2) Light has many uses and is a powerful tool for a wide variety of tasks. They are (click) used for public safety and search and rescue on helicopters and rescue vehicles designed to find those lost at sea or track criminals fleeing from law enforcement. Light (click) makes working and worshipping easier although there is something about candle light at Christmas time that makes electric lights appear out of place.
(click) Light is also making possible advances in dental care. An article at engadget.com indicates that dental researchers have discovered ‘that blue light coming off a halogen lamp is highly effective at killing’ the bacteria that cause tooth and gum decay without killing the good bacteria that helps digestion of food.
The article goes on to speculate that ‘it will be particularly beneficial to those who don’t like using a toothbrush.’ Those responding to the article made the following comments, ‘Laugh all you want, but as someone with constant gingivitis despite brushing, flossing, and 4 trips to the dentist a year for cleanings, I would welcome anything that helps.’
‘I think the logical extension of this is a toothbrush with the blue light built in. After all, there are already disposable electric toothbrushes.’ So, if this development proves true, then… (3) Every time we go here (click), we can learn to use something like this… (Click), and maybe less of this… (Click).
Even the fiber optic strands we see in this slide are another example of how light is useful to us. Who would have imagined how a thin strand of light would transmit voice and other data at a great speed?
(4) In the Bible light represents the presence of God in the midst of darkness.
For example, in the third verse of the entire Bible, Genesis 1:3 we read (click), ‘Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.’ God creates light and from there begins to organize our world and universe because until He says, “Let there be light,” the earth was, as we read in verse 2, ‘a formless mass cloaked in darkness.’
(5) In the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5, Jesus again uses light as a metaphor for the presence of God in the midst of darkness. Except this time, He personalizes to His disciples by making it clear that (click) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. (click) Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’ We become, as followers of Jesus Christ, the light to others. We embody the Christian faith and message to others by the way we act, talk, and live. However, being that light, as we go on to read, exposes us to ridicule and persecution because light attacks the darkness and shows what the darkness of human existence is made of. Paul is a case in point. At the beginning of our main text, we see Paul reacting to the light of Christ in the lives of those that he had arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. Yet that light would finally stand across his path and knock him down.