Sermon St Mary's Comberton, 20th May 2007
Light in the midst of darkness
<<Even in darkness and death, Christ's light shines brightly>>
Garden light: solar powered.
Light and darkness.
3 little cameos - Christian life - light and darkness.
Prison in Philippi.
(1) Paul and Silas. Innermost cell.
Dark. Cold and damp.
Not cursing and complaining. Singing hymns and praying.
Easy to complain. Bus. Workplace.
Barclay “The one thing you can never take away from a Christian is God and the presence of JC. With God there is freedom even in a prison and even at midnight there is light.”
Woken up by the earthquake, you can imagine him rushing from his house o/s prison compound. Small prison.
When he sees prison doors open he thinks he knows the whole story. The prisoners have escaped. Including the 2 high security prisoners Paul and Silas. What will the authorities think?
Darkness closes in around him. I can't cope with this. Decides to end his life.
1st read this: credibility gap. Would he really blame himself to such an extent? Wasn't his fault that an earthquake had hit the town.
- Small eq? Prison door not v well secured – maybe he'd been meaning to fix the hinges for ages.
- Why was there no one guarding the gate? Was he meant to have arranged someone to keep guard for the night? Especially with these 2 high security prisoners...
- Honour v important in Roman society. Failed. Korea businessman goes bankrupt.
Just as the jailer drawn his sword. Paul shouts out. “Do not harm yourself we are all here.”
Dramatic: v29 “The jailer called for lights”. Torches
Darkest moment of his life, suddenly flooded with light.
Discovers what true light and life is all about.
#. Jailer's family. The moment of baptism.
Still dark. “Wake up. Never going to believe this. I was about to die but bow I'm alive. I've discovered followers of the true God. Come and get baptised with me!!”
There and then, maybe at the well on the prison compound.
Baptism is about LIGHT and DARKNESS.
“God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and given us a place with the saints in light.” CW Baptism service.
Colossians 1:11; “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power... giving thanks to the Father who enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Darkness -> Light walk in for the rest of their days.
WHAT ABOUT US?
Not many of us have been in prison – either as a criminal or as a jailer!
But nearly everyone here has been baptised.
Fantastic reality. Darkness to light.
* Tension / stress in family
- Treated unfairly at work
- Medical treatment
- Worried about your children.
Whatever it is – possible that you feel like you're surrounded by darkness.
We are like one of these garden lights.
Even in utter darkness. The Holy Spirit inside gives witness children of Father of Light.
“God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and given us a place with the saints in light.
You have received the light of Christ. Walk in this light all the days of your life. Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the father.” CW p363