Tag Archives: light

wonders of Advent 2022, epilogue Matthew 5

25 Dec

After speaking the blessings from the Sermon on the Mount, after giving a listing of the types of people coming Christians will be, ( one example, Matt 5: 7 ‘Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.’ ) and then…

… Jesus answers Carroll Shelby’s question ( as posed by the actor Matt Damon in the 2019 movie ‘Ford v Ferrari’ ) ‘The only question that matters. Who are you?’

This is how Jesus answers Carroll:

( from John 1 )2 ‘He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

The only word, or thing, or image, or trope that matters on Christmas Day ( or all days ) is light. Jesus comes to both teach and to place light in the world. And We are what he places on hills and on houses; on fields and mangers. We are his light …

Our eyes are drawn to light, whether we are a darken word or a walker on a moonless night. We are drawn to this light. And, in time, in comes within us.

And thus this is Jesus’ answer to Carroll Shelby’s question ‘who are you?’—

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ ( Matthew 5 )

We are to be lights as Jesus gift is his light, the essence of his living, his life- the essence of his character, his community with the Spirit, and with His Father.

And we are not to be just a one time a year light, but lights of the world. All days. All times.

So, Jesus came for the answer to the only question that really matters, ‘ who are you’…’

We are Jesus’…


wonders of Advent 5 Anna, a prophet sees; holds, shares … fire

19 Dec
light, fire

Prophets hear and speak. They see, hurt for those who hurt God. Those who do not trust and share in the Lord’s love for them. Those who plant their own ways and paths.

Prophets have no such option: they are called to speak the revealed words of the Lord. Their speaking, their voices, are not their own but His. In the Advent story when Mary and Joseph and their child Jesus enter the temple for dedication, two prophets speak to them. First Simeon, then Anna. Here is how Luke’s gospel paints Anna:

36 ‘There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.’

We do not hear Anna’s exact words. We see her as Mary saw her, how Mary describes this moment to Luke.

Anna is a prophetess, yet we don’t hear her words. What then do we see? Hear?

We see her character: a woman who fasts and prays. A woman who is awaiting redemption. Jesus as redeemer is what we, what Mary sees. An old servant redeemed. Her prays are not wasted; her fasting not overlooked.

And she never stops speaking of Jesus in the temple, even after the baby leaves. She is sharing redemption’s birth with us, redemption’s Advent. This is her prophecy; this is what we, and all in the temple hear: Redemption. And she must, must speak.

The prophet Jeremiah answers this why in his own life description – as he prophesies in Jeremiah 20: 9a

Why? Why must an 84 year old speak to all she comes in contact with?

…’ if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.’

Jeremiah is not just describing himself: he speaks of prophets. He speaks of light and fire; fires and lights.

Our God is a fire: from the burning bush to the day of Pentecost. From Isaiah’s lips being purified with burning coals to the Lord’s fire that consumes Aaron’s two sons. ( Leviticus 10 ) Anna must share because she, as all prophets have fire in their hearts, in their bones.

This prophetic fire always creates light; it opens all to understanding. All to meaning. This fire does not destroy, but reveals.

Anna’s words are fires and lights. They reveal redemption. This, her purifying instrument that opens the Lord’s meaning, is His words; His redeeming words. Her words work with Simeon’s and Jeremiah’s. With the words of all OT prophets.

And as Jeremiah must speak, Anna also cannot be quiet. For she is a light that speaks to all about redemption’s Advent, it’s fire. She shares with all.

Anna prophesies redemption, for all. She speaks ‘Jesus’- she shares Advent light, its fire.

light… light

from Luke 2, wonders of seeing – Advent 2022

9 Dec

22 ‘When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (las it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”’

How does, what does Simeon, a devout, loving man, see?

He sees, hears by the Spirit. The Spirit reveals to him that he will ‘see’ the Messiah before he dies; after many years of waiting, this same Holy Spirit moves Simeon to the temple courts. And now Simeon sees…

He sees a family consecrating a first born to the Lord. He sees that they bring the most the could, the poorest offering that can be given to the temple; he sees the boy, forty days old; and then he holds Jesus in his arms and prophesies, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”

He sees salvation; he sees light; he sees God’s glory. He sees and feels the peace of Jesus. Bathed in light, bathed in the Spirit, Simeon shares, prophesies, the light of a promise fulfilled; the Lord’s Messiah-‘salvation.’ Jesus.

Yet, in this moment, Simeon also sees darkness: hearts’ thoughts dark revealed; people rising and falling- Mary’s coming sorrows, a mother’s soul pierced. Darkness.

So, Simeon’s light, his Holy Spirit’s light, reveals sorrows and darkness alongside salvation.

He sees the whole Jesus, the whole story of Advent: light with darkness.


wonders of advent 2022

28 Nov

light… ‘and you child’

When the prophet Malachi passed around 450 B.C., no genuine prophetic voice was heard again for about 500 years. Darkness.

We know this period as the intertestamental period—the gap between the Old and New Testaments. Without a prophet, people in Israel began to divide into parties and groups- all claiming the right to interpret the scriptures and lead the people. They all desired to lead but each group was in an even deeper darkness than the people who yearned for God’s word, His prophet. A messiah.

Without a prophet darkness deepens. External blackness envelopes not only the outside, but insides of each man woman and child. 450 years of silence has robbed people of hope, joys, and light.

And so, as we look this Advent at the meaning of Jesus’ coming, let us look into this darkness through a light, the light of an unexpected child’s birth, the light of John the Baptist’s birth, … and the words his father prophesied at the light of John’s, his son’s birth … Luke 1: 76-79

‘…And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people

in the forgiveness of their sins,

78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”’

Zaharias a priest, a new father, speaks. Placed in silent darkness because he did not believe the Angel who promised his wife Elizabeth and he a child in their old age, he sat in darkness for nine months. . A priest who cannot speak. A darkened life.

And yet, the child’s birth returns his speech. A renewed life. Light.

He prays, prophesies and holds his John saying, ‘ and you child…’

John will bring prophetic light to the Lord’s people’s. Yet, this is not ‘the sunrise… from on high.’ Jesus. Jesus who brings the light of forgiveness of sin; salvation, tender mercy.

All will no longer sit in darkness. Stationary, passive. No.

He will raise all to their feet and guide. Guide us from darkness’ depths to peace.

Light. From a child. The baby to come.

Jesus. Light.

light… ( a thought )

15 May

a thought, first from
Psalm 97:11, ( with footnote) Light shines[a] on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.Psalm 97:11 [a] from a Hebrew manuscript and other ancient versions (see also Psalm 112:4); … in most Hebrew manuscripts ‘Light’ is sown and in, Psalm 97: 4 ‘ Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. 5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,who conduct their affairs with justice.’

The images here are all about light; light that dawns; light that sows, that plants, as a heart that enriches, that seeds. Light in these Psalms is something that holds and lifts.
It is a generous gift from the Lord. Light lives as one of his greatest gifts. Thus,
‘ I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:22

In His word, His Light, His life, all darkness and mists are swept away. Only His Light remains.

advent wonder 2021, his coming

29 Oct

Advent season comes in winter, when there is less light than any other time of year. Our need for light, our deep desire for light this season, can be seen by all the artificial lights we surround ourselves with: building lights; Christmas tree illuminations; candle lighting worship services abound. We need light. Light comforts.

The peoples of Jesus’ time needed light also. Living without modern lightings, darkness was their constant companion, their ‘old friend’ if you will. They searched the scriptures, especially the words of the prophets, in search of the ultimate saving light, a Messiah. This is the Advent they prayed, they waited, they lived for. As a candle in a darkened room comforts, so did the OT scriptures comfort a people’s’ waiting.

On Mondays this Advent season we will be looking at scriptures these ancient people studied for light on the Messiah’s advent. ( For example, the Magi were one such group. ) On Fridays we will looking at New Testament scriptures that describe Jesus’ coming, His life.

In a real sense the Old Testament prophecies were first a darkly understood description of the Messiah’s advent; the New Testament aligned with these Old Testaments, reveal the Messiah Jesus in full understanding. Together the OT & the NT give full light. And they clearly illuminate a loving, saving Messiah, Jesus.

Welcome to Advent 2021, his coming.

We begin on Monday, 22 November looking at Isaiah 61 verses 1-4 & 8b – 10

Friday 26 November we will look at Luke 4 verses 14 -22 a & 25 – 30


11 Aug

from Psalm 97:11, with footnote

I can’t stand that I have not saved

Light shines[a] on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.

  1. Psalm 97:11 One Hebrew manuscript and ancient versions (see also 112:4); most Hebrew manuscripts Light is sown

and, Psalm 112: 4 – 5

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice

The images here are all about light; light that dawns; light that sows, that plants, as heart enriching seeds. Light in these Psalms is something that holds and lifts.
It is a generous gift from the Lord. Light lives as one of his greatest gifts.