Friday, August 30, 2013

Light Dawns for the Just

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney 

Brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God—and as you are conducting yourselves—you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2)

Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart. Be glad in the Lord, you just, and give thanks to his holy name. (Psalms 97:11-12)

(Jesus told the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, in which the foolish virgins went to buy oil, only to find the door locked when they returned.) “The other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:11-13)

Lord, help me to remain awake and alert in Your love.

And so, the last big weekend of the summer is upon us.

Personally, I struggle with this time of year, despite the forecasted summer-like temperatures for northern Virginia. It’s all about the light. We’ve already lost nearly an hour in the morning and nearly an hour in the evening from the peak light of June 21 (which, I am sure is no coincidence, also happens to be my birthday). I don’t do as well as the dark time lengthens. I find it more difficult to get up and go to the day job, more difficult to motivate myself to go to the gym when I get home, more difficult to get stuff done in the evenings I don’t work out. It doesn’t help that I know it’s only going to get worse and worse until December 21 or so rolls around. By comparison, I’m a chirpy bird from about April through July, up even before that early crack of dawn, whipping through to-do lists like nobody’s business. I work at remembering those times and that energy to keep going as we lose more and more light.

Our faith lives can fall prey to similar circumstances. When we are living in the light and, to paraphrase Paul, behaving in a God-pleasing manner, it’s easier to keep going down that narrow path and to say no to the temptations that beset us. But when darkness begins to inch its way into our souls, we often change directions… ever so slightly at first, often in ways that aren’t readily apparent. We cut corners on our prayer lives or our service opportunities or our general conduct. And slowly but surely, the light can become all but extinguished.

The difference between the sunrise-sunset calendar and God’s love is huge, however. While we have no control over how much sunlight we receive in a given day, God’s Light is always there for the asking. We just have to be willing to accept that Light… and do our best to live in it.

Take off the sun blocks—fear, complacency, jealousy, and so on—that are attempting to shield you from God’s Light...

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