Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm reading "Scandal Of The Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like The Rest Of The World?" It is by Ronald Sider. I enjoy his books because somehow, I still don't understand it, he can from an evangelical tradition call for personal and social holiness. He argues that we should seek social justice as well as focus on individual sins. I think he can keep this all together because he has a lot of Anabaptist in him. I don't agree with everything he sees as personal sin but he has soon great points.

I'm preaching on 1 John 1:1-7 tomorrow and the focus there is walking in the light. I wonder what it means to walk in the light. Is all just light and darkness? John calls God light. If this is the case I wonder if we should focus on following the light and not worry about where the light stops and darkness begins. I think if we just worry about making sure we are following the light we will always be walking in the light. If we are to busy determining where light stops we will soon be without any light at all and our eyes will grow accustomed to the darkness so we will think we are in the light but the true light is nowhere near.

We started out following the Light. We noticed that wherever the Light went a great many came to our community. We taught them what it meant to follow the Light. Occasionally we would meet those who were in the dusk and we would invite them to join. We sought those who were blind or crippled along the way and we took care of them. We told them about the Light and his message to us the lamp. Every now and then we would see a group go of with their lamps and never make it back to the light. Sometimes some would venture out into the darkness with their lamps, soon we would see them again. We asked what made them able to find their way back? They answered "we never lost sight of the Source of Light. We noticed that we started slowing down. We were okay with that, to much change through our community into a frenzy. Soon we noticed that it was getting dark. We made sure we had our lamps and we said "that's good enough." Light gave us our lamp so we can not get lost. For a while we even saw the Source of Light and were able to follow but we wanted to be too cautious so we did not move fast enough to catch up. We called those in darkness to toward the lamp. Eventually we took the lamp and said it was the Light. But Light never stops. Light is constantly moving. Constantly going to where only darkness remains. What happened, why did we stop? We started calling those in darkness to the lamp and many realized that because of the lamp they could see a bit. But soon they realized that that lamp was not the Light. It talked about the Light and even pointed the way to get back to the Light. When asked about this those who grew up around the lamp said that the lamp was the Light. So those who came out of darkness left. Many went back into their darkness, others sought out the Light. Even when Light passed close the "children of the lamp" refused to get up. They thought it was just another lamp.

But some saw, some realized what was happening, some realized what the lamp was and who the Light was. We followed what the lamp said about where the Light goes. We set out on their journey to the darkest places. Where poverty, addiction, sickness, abound. When we came to these places they talked about the Light and how the lamp points the way. Many more were added to our number. As we went through these places they found that soon they were in dusk. We could see. And so we continued. Eventually we found ourselves in the Light. Light spoke to many. Some remained there in the light to fragile to go anywhere else. Others were sent back to the dusk places. Sent back to point the way toward the light. As we went the area around us became light. We were careful however to tell people who the true Light was. One day we came upon the "children of the lamp" we had left. We told them about the true Light but they said it was they who had light. A few came but many stayed. We found the same thing over and over. Communities who once knew the Light but now had replaced Light for lamp. They had rituals about the lamp, what it meant to follow the lamp. They had rules about who could be part of their lamp community. Mostly they argued that the lamp promised that if they all stayed put the God would rescue them from the darkness. So they told their people to make a living in this land and wait for God. We went away sad. They would not see that Light had already come. They failed to realize, with all their reading of the lamp, where Light was and where Light was not. So we continued with our mission, healing the sick, caring for the orphan, feeding those who hunger, offering help to the addict, all the while pointing out the Light.


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