Summary: There is need not fear coming into the light of Christ.
“We Need Only Trust God”
By: Revernd Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
When Martin Luther was printing his translation of the Bible in Germany, pieces of the printed Scripture fell to the floor.
A young girl picked one up and read part of a verse from our Gospel Lesson for this morning: “For God so loved the world that he gave…”
The rest of the sentence was missing, but nonetheless that was a defining moment for the young girl—as the truth griped her and light began to shine.
You see, she had been told so often that God was a Judge and One to be dreaded.
She had been living in the darkness…the darkness of fear and meaninglessness all her young life.
She ran home with excitement in her heart…
…passing the note to her mother and talking endlessly of this wonderful discovery.
Her mother read the piece of Scripture…became perplexed, and asked her daughter: “But what did He give?”
The young girl was lost for a moment with a puzzled expression, not knowing the answer.
But suddenly a thought came to her and her face lit up again as she said, “I don’t know; but if He loved us well enough to give us anything, we need not be afraid of Him.”(story borrowed from Dale Pilgrim)
Have you ever felt as if you were living a very dark existence where people aren’t very nice to one another….
…where everyone seems mad and on the defensive…
…ready to strike out with hate and anger and vengeance at any moment?
I don’t know about you, but I like a bit of personal interaction…even if I’m just stopping into 7-11 in order to get a cup of coffee.
Life can be so lonely when we don’t smile at one another or even acknowledge one another’s existence.
And it seems like, and maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like there is less and less smiling going on these days.
Has the world gotten so dark?
Does life just appear to be some cruel joke?
So I stopped in to get a cup of coffee at 7-11 the other day…
…and like I said, I like a bit of personal interaction.
I like to be able to smile with the cashier.
I like to be able to commiserate with him or her….
…maybe just talk about the weather.
But even this kind of stunt can be dangerous.
Many of us are just too angry.
Our world is too dark.
I was paying for my cup of coffee, and I noticed that the woman behind the cash register…now this is not at all unusual…
…it seems to be the norm…
…would not even look at me…
…but actually looked angry.
She looked tired as well.
So, wanting a bit of personal interaction I asked her: “Have you been working a long shift? Been a rough day?”
I didn’t say this in a condescending manner.
I just wanted to commiserate.
I wasn’t feeling like I was floating on the clouds either.
She didn’t answer me, except to let out a burst of exasperated air and tell me that I needed to swipe my credit card again.
So, I asked her, “I’m sorry, did I make you angry for some reason?”
“Now I’m angry,” she burst forth as she looked me in the eyes for the first time.
I think I’ll just wait until I get home or get to the meeting I’m headed for instead of stopping at a convenience store for a cup of coffee from now on.
I don’t like to make people even more angry than they already are.
There is a lot of darkness out there.
I’m sure the woman at the 7-11 is a fine person who has had a difficult life.
Who knows what horrible adversities she faces.
But this is an example of the darkness, the miserable darkness that pervades and runs our lives.
This world can be a very lonely place.
And the darkness is the most lonely place in which we can live.
Our Gospel Lesson for this morning tells us that “Light has come into the world,” and that that Light is God’s one and only Son.
“but men loved darkness instead of light.”
What a miserable thing to love darkness instead of light.
What a miserable thing to love anger, greed, selfishness instead of light.
What a miserable thing to choose to live in the darkness when the Light is here for the taking…
…it is a free gift…
…what a miserable thing to choose to live in hell instead of living in the light of the kingdom of God!
And it is a choice we are called…
…we are allowed to make.