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Come to the Light – Br. David Allen

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1 Jn 2:7-11

The first reading for today begins with the words, “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old command-ment is the word that you have heard.”  I think that we can recognize that old commandment as the “Law of Love”, found in our Prayer Book in a variant form as “The Summary of the Law”.   Briefly, “Love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.” 

The prologue of the fourth Gospel sets before us our Lord Jesus Christ as the Word of God, the Word Incarnate.  In his final discourse to his Twelve Apostles Jesus told them that he was giving them a new commandment; they were to love one another as he had loved them. (Jn 13:34, 15:12)  Whether this is what the author of the First Letter of John meant or not, it seems to be a reminder of Jesus’ “new commandment” to the Disciples that they love one another.  Following the comment in the First Letter of John that the new commandment “is true in him and in you,” it goes on to say, “because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining”.  (1 Jn 2:8)

This leads us to the second theme found in our first reading, light and darkness.  In the prologue of John’s Gospel we are introduced to Jesus as being life and light; “and the life was the light of all people…the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:4-5)

On at least three occasions during his ministry Jesus referred to himself as “the light of the world”. The first of these occasions refers to Jesus stating his ministry in terms of light and darkness.  “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12) The second was in the context of healing a man blind from birth.  “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (9:5) The final time those words of Jesus were recorded was in a clear statement of his ministry coming from God the Father. “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. …I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.” (12:44-46)

In Chapter 3 of John’s Gospel we can find clear reference to that theme of light and darkness.  “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.  But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (Jn 3:19-21)

At the end of the reading from the First Letter of John today we are given three concrete applications of being in the light or in the darkness.  “Whoever says, ‘I am in the light,’ while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness.  Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling.  But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because darkness has brought on blindness.” (1 Jn 2:9-11)

Hear Jesus call, “Come to the light.”  Walk in the light and love God and one another!  If you find it difficult to love anyone, then try to want to love them.  Try to love them, and keep on trying to love them.  God, our merciful Father, wants us to love one another.  If we pray that we want to love someone who is difficult to love, try to love that person and God will give you grace and help to learn to love those who are difficult.  Keep praying, and keep trying to love those whom you find difficult.  It may not happen right away, but keep trying!  Stay in the light, the true light who is Jesus Christ!

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13 Comments

  1. Gwedhen Nicholas on September 8, 2017 at 14:28

    Thank you!
    I came to realise through reading this sermon, that to do good is to be in the light. I hadn’t realised that before. I knew I had to do good, and I knew I needed to be in the light, but I didn’t know that being in the light is being loving. Now walking in the light makes more sense because I understand how to do it! I think I knew this at some deep level, but it hadn’t been brought to my conscienceness yet. So thank you Br. David. Gwedhen

  2. Harriet on September 8, 2017 at 06:50

    As a 10-year old child, I prayed, as I was taught to do in Sunday School, for my enemy. Another child in school bullied me and not knowing what else to do, I prayed for her. The problem righted itself and was no longer a concern. I have never forgotten that experience.

  3. Duchess Matheson on October 3, 2015 at 19:24

    The afternoon before I saw this, a coworker and I were saying how difficult another worker is, and she said she guessed we don’t know what happened to make her this way. The next morning I told her she’d made me think and told her about this. Later that day there was an emergency with a child (we are teachers) and the person we were trying to want to love came through with kindness and . help. Thanks.

  4. Rick Porter on October 1, 2015 at 09:54

    Brother David, thank you for stating in a new way, a way that resonates strongly with me today, a message I have heard and been taught my entire life. Many years ago I was instructed that when I had no love in my heart for a certain person, I was to pray daily that he or she would be granted everything in life that I would want for myself. That practice has taken away my harshest thoughts and feelings about the offending person and has helped me to quit obsessing about them. But I will add the element you preach today. I will ask God to help me want to love these hurtful of bothersome people in my life. For in my heart, I believe this element has been missing. God bless and thank you.

  5. Christina on October 1, 2015 at 09:09

    Love – a small four-letter word – but so hard to achieve at times. Forgiveness (much longer) is another one.
    Years ago, I was helped by being told to ask God to grant me the gift to forgive someone. I had been praying that I forgave this person, but I knew in my heart-of-hearts that I didn’t
    And so it is with Love. Perhaps, instead of trying, trying, trying, it is more blessed to ask God to grant us the grace to love one another.Pray your request, then leave it with the God of all creation. It works for me. It is not an immediate clap of thunder and then I am loving, or forgiving, but in God’s own time, I have been granted these gifts. Christina

  6. Linda Stowe-LaDouceur on October 1, 2015 at 06:49

    Thank-you.

  7. Susan Gorman on November 26, 2014 at 11:58

    In thinking about loving difficult people in our lives I find it helpful to remember and meditate on John 3:16 and Romans 5:5. If God really does love the whole world and his love has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit then there is hope for all of us to love all people difficult people and even our enemies. How outrageous is the love of our God that he loves us all!!! And that he gives us the ability and the power to to love through his Spirit within us How much we truly need to be born again every day so that we can become vessels of his love in this broken world. What good news the gospel gives us that we don’t have to change ourselves or become loving people through our own will and strength that we can be born again by the Spirit of God and have his love with which to love the world!

  8. Margaret Dungan on November 25, 2014 at 21:28

    Br.David,

    What a gift are these wonderful words
    and the way you have placed them together . They shine
    like freshly polished silver .They are so inspiring especially as we are about to enter the Advent season.
    Thank you so much.

    Margaret

  9. Gillian McMullen on November 25, 2014 at 11:47

    Thank you from the depths of my heart.

  10. Elizabeth Vickers on November 25, 2014 at 10:11

    Thank your for an especially enlightening message as I find myself having to address an unexpected situation demanding diplomacy and Christian love.

  11. Ruth West on July 23, 2014 at 10:02

    Thank you, Br. David, for this good homily.
    I’m reminded of a good old Protestant hymn with which I grew up singing: The Light of the World is Jesus. “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin, The light of the world is Jesus; Like sunshine at noonday His glory shone in, the light of the world is Jesus. Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee, Sweetly the light has dawned upon me; Once I was blind, but now I can see; The Light of the world is Jesus.” There are four verses, each one as good as the first. He has been and IS my true light who shines forth in guidance day by day. I, like Pam, feel so so blessed!

  12. Polly Chatfield on July 23, 2014 at 09:23

    Thank you, dear David, for reminding us that we must keep trying to love – and especially keep asking to want to learn to love – the difficult people in our lives. And always to remember that other people love them even if we find them hard to get along with.

  13. Pam on July 23, 2014 at 05:39

    Sigh…… I hear you brother. Thank you for reminding me what Jesus said…. The Holy Spirit does the same. You know sometimes I think I am the luckiest, luckiest person alive just because He always looks after me. Lately for me that is the quality I see in Him most.

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