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Good and Evil in Aisle 7

Ephesians 5:8-14   |   3/10/2002

Paul calls us to look beyond the righting of retailer wrongs -- real or imagined -- and to focus on being children of light in a world of darkness.

Prices are not the only things falling at Wal-Mart.

Could be a toaster or a Veg-a-matic.
Take Phil Scharrel, for example. An ice auger fell 19 feet before hitting him on the head, leaving him with brain damage. He and his wife sued and were awarded $2.8 million.

Then there's Barbara Trujillo, whose back was injured when boxes from a push cart toppled on her. She sued and won $435,000.

Kathleen Mills, fired after her own father was "attacked" by a wayward box while shopping at Wal-Mart, insists that signs should be posted at all entries declaring that "shopping in this store may be hazardous to your health."

According to Wal-Mart's very own Claims Management Department, tumbling merchandise fell on top of more than 25,000 human beings over a recent four-year period. In another legal case, experts testified that an average of 150 shoppers a day, nationwide, are injured due to falling merchandise or merchandise dropped by employees onto unsuspecting shoppers pushing carts down the aisles.

This is not to knock Wal-Mart. The nationwide chain has developed enormous good will with its smiley face commercials and friendly and helpful clerks. It's just that Wal-Mart is apparently such an easy target. Victims' rights group abound. Check out walmartsurvivor.com in the event that you ventured innocently into a Wal-Mart hoping to land a good deal on a box of Tide and found yourself beaned by a wayward can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup.

So many individuals file suit against the discount giant that there are law firms that specialize only in suing Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart Litigation Project, an organization that exists to assist these lawyers, has identified more than 100 different types of lawsuits against the company. It's been estimated that Wal-Mart is hit with more than 50 lawsuits every day.

It's bad enough to have to live in fear after the events of 9/11, but now it appears that we can't even walk down aisle 7 without fearing for life and limb!

Danger is pervasive. We can't be too careful. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Or at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, the back-yard or the schoolyard, the playground or the work place? If the sky isn't falling, who knows? A blender might be on its way down.

It is against this background of fear and darkness that the apostle Paul steps in to offer light and hope as a remedy for those in danger of becoming Chicken Little Christians.

He describes our condition without Christ as one of darkness. But when the light of Christ shines on us, we are able to live without fear, and to walk in the light (v. 14). It's a psychological thing: We feel safer in light as opposed to darkness. After a week of rain, we're delighted when the sun is shining again. That's why Paul says that the secret to living without fear is to step out of the darkness.

Here's what it means to live as children of light:
* Pursue what is good and right and true, v. 9.
* Try to find out what pleases God, v. 10.
* Don't waste your time on worthless pursuits. In fact, expose them for what they are, v. 11.
* Wake up, become aware, v. 14.
[NOTE: You may want to spend some time developing the meaning of each of these four suggestions before proceeding.]

When we find ourselves implementing this 4-step program for fearless living, we'll feel like we've finally seen the light.

Sam Walton established the practice of hiring elderly members of the community and assigning them the simple task of greeting shoppers with a smile and a welcoming word as they entered his stores. He believed it brightened the days of world-weary shoppers.

Paul would say that the world needs more cheery faces. He urges us not only to make our own world a cheerful place, but to widen the circle of light to include others: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."

In his novel, The Street Lawyer, author John Grisham describes the reaction of someone helping the helpless:

I was in no hurry to leave the [legal clinic for the homeless] at the end of my first day. Home was an empty attic, not much larger than any three of the cubbyholes at the Samaritan House. Home was a bedroom with no bed, a living room with cableless TV, a kitchen with a card table and no fridge... .

"So what do you think?" [a fellow lawyer] asked, pausing by the door on the way out.

"I think it's fascinating work. The human contact is inspiring."

"It'll break your heart at times."

"It already has."

"That's good. If you reach the point where it doesn't hurt, then it's time to quit."

Children of light don't quit. Jesus himself modeled what it means to walk in the light. He had a heart for "the least of these." He took up a cross. He resisted the powers of oppression and evil. His plan included working with a "Helper" who would partner with us forever. His goals involved nothing short of establishing the kingdom of the highest heaven on earth.

Take Bea Gaddy. She was called the Mother Teresa of Baltimore because she fed the hungry and housed the homeless. Former president George Bush anointed her America's 695th "point of light." Family Circle magazine named her woman of the year.

She survived poverty, hunger and homelessness -- "I know what it's like to hunt for food in a garbage can and eat out of a dumpster," she wrote -- to become, in her later years, the premier advocate for the down and out.

Bea Gaddy was a tiny, white-haired woman who was also larger than life.

When word came that the 68-year-old had succumbed to breast cancer, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley ordered that flags be flown at half-staff. Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening lauded Gaddy as "the beacon of hope for those who felt hopeless."

Gaddy's annual Thanksgiving dinner fed the city. It required 80 tons of food, 30,000 paper plates, 50 cases of aluminum foil, 2,000 pumpkin pies and 100 cases of sweet potatoes. More than 3,500 volunteers fed 20,000 people.

She converted her East Baltimore house into the headquarters of her Patterson Park Emergency Food Center, and she lived in the basement. She founded the Bea Gaddy Family Center for women and children, and no matter who called, or when, she had a bed or a cot, made up and ready.

"'Just send 'em over,'" social services worker Sarah Matthews remembers Gaddy telling her, again and again. "'Just send 'em on over.' She never told me no."

What are the chances that Bea Gaddy lived in fear, worrying about the dangers in Aisle 7. Slim to none. She pursued what is "good, right and true." She had learned what is "pleasing to the Lord." She didn't waste her time on worthless pursuits. She was "awake," she had "risen" to cast her light on the plight -- of others.

When we partner-up with Jesus, we can stop worrying about falling toaster ovens, or the dangers that lurk in Aisle 7 or anywhere else. We can get on with the business of transforming a world of darkness into a world of light.

And when that is our business, "Christ will shine on [us]!" (v. 14.)
Sources:
Grisham, John. The Street Lawyer.
New York: Random House, 1998, 217.
Johnson, Darragh. "Baltimore loses a
ÔBeacon of Hope.'" The Washington Post,
October 4, 2001, B1.
Olgeirson, Ian. "Wal-Mart's headaches make
law firm's fortune." The Denver Business
Journal, November 21, 1997.


Commentary

The Pauline author begins the pericope by introducing a light vs. darkness dualism to illustrate the "that was then -- this is now" character of a Christian's new life. "For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light" (v. 8). The implication here is weighty. A human is not a morally neutral being who happens to reside "in" a particular locus: first "in" the darkness before Christ came, and then "in" the light after Christ. One is described as being of either one element or another. Before Christ there was only darkness. After Christ, some become children of light, others not.

There is a sense of spiritual natural selection at work. Christ is the variable factor which allows some to be fruitful. Good trees, after all, bear good fruit. Likewise bad trees bear bad fruit (Matthew 7:17-20). One's elemental being is manifested in "the fruit of the light" (v. 9). Those who are darkness, who do things in secret, are fruitless (v. 11). One's status vis-ˆ-vis Jesus produces either fruitfulness or barrenness. Hence there is a product associated with belief. However, the emphasis in this passage is less on production of fruitful work and more on the description of generation -- whence comes the seed? As the letter concludes, it is apparent that the battle for the "survival of the fittest" is ongoing between the children of light and the "cosmic powers of this present darkness" (6:12).

The author's use of the light vs. darkness motif is not the same as in other places in the New Testament. For example, in John's gospel Jesus is that light that illumines the darkness (1:8). In Ephesians there is little emphasis on light dispelling darkness. Rather, the light stands in opposition to the darkness.

This drastic, dualistic worldview seems more at home in the monastic and apocalyptic communities found in the first-century desert of the Negev or the equally mysterious communities of the Gnostics of later centuries. However, one should be careful making too quick of an assignation of precedence or trajectory.

Despite its cosmic language, there is a pointed pastoral concern here. Behind the somber tone hides a community or communities of Christians who have forgotten their standing as believers. Doctrinal confusion, doubt, backsliding and everyday stress have caused division within the community.

Sometimes believers need to be addressed in stark "black-and-white" terminology in order to re-focus on the essentials. Even the "saints" sin and need to be agitated to return to purity of doctrine and lifestyle. Certainly the early Christian community was beset with the same sinner/saint mix as any modern congregation. However, it may well be that the language is more harsh than the actual action. If every Christian community rid itself of everyone who said frivolous things, or used vulgar language, or was greedy, or manifested no fruit or light, there would not be much of a church left in the first century or the 21st (5:3-5).

Nevertheless, if one claims to be of Christ, then it should be recognizable in conduct. Actually, the prohibitions are, for the most part, fairly practical. If you are of Christ you control your body and your mouth (vv. 3-5). If you are of Christ you are not deceived by empty words and you don't keep company with those who try to deceive (v. 6). If you are of Christ, be focused on what is good and right and true. If you are of Christ then the "fruit of the light" will be self-evident.
What is interesting in these verses is that the believer is not specifically told what life in the light is -- only what it is not. The mood of verse 10 is not entirely clear and open to interpretation. It may be a sarcastic, plaintive cry, as is made by a parent to recalcitrant children: "Would you please try to find out what is pleasing to God!" Or, it may be a pastoral exhortation to be disciplined in the practice of faithful living that will lead to the discovery of deeper ways to please God. Probably both tones are intended. Whatever the case, the believer patterns her or his life after Jesus, who was the perfect sacrifice of love and became the "fragrant offering" which was pleasing to God (5:2).

A final note of redemption is lifted up. In community, Christ calls us to reprove one another, to discipline, to correct, in order to restore relationships. Being "exposed" in this way is a faithful expression of trust in grace. Therefore, faithful living is about being open, not closeted. A believer should not keep secrets or do secret things which imply shame. A believer who "exposes" another's sin should not treat the wrongdoer with contempt or as gossip fodder; this, too, is shameful (v. 12). Rather, since the light of Christ is revealed in truth-telling, then Christians need to be truthful. When people are honest with self and others, speaking the truth in love, then the light shines in power. It is a wake-up call, as the three-lined hymn which ends verse 14 declares.

Exhortation to holiness is always a two-edged sword. When humbly inner-directed, the self-evaluation calls one back to basic truths about Christian faith and fellowship. When, however, the call to holiness becomes a self-righteous proclamation used to divide who is in from who is out, then there is a very real danger of leading the Christian over the edge of joyful proclamation toward fear-based judgment. What is certain is that claiming to be part of the children of light necessitates living as if one really believed it. Fruit is, after all, what fruit does.


Animating Illustrations

Sam Walton -- nicknamed "Deacon" by his Bible class at church -- developed these 10 steps to building a business:

1. Commit to the business.
2. Share the profits with your associates and treat them as partners.
3. Motivate your partners.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your company.
8. Exceed your customers' expectations.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Swim upstream.


On a cloudless September afternoon, Don Corbert, 54, stepped out along Sunset Beach in Vancouver's West End. Jobless for nearly three years and now a resident of the city's Skid Row, the former construction worker was just passing time. As he walked, he saw a wallet on a nearby park bench.

Inside was $50 in cash -- money that could come in handy for Corbert. Then he noticed a man's ID card and pictures of a smiling mother and three young children. This guy's got a family and probably needs every cent, he thought. An hour later he called to return the wallet.

In a mini-mall within the upscale Douglasdale Estates in suburban Calgary, a fit, black-haired man in his 40s jumped out of a 1996 Toyota four-wheel-drive vehicle. Spotting a wallet on the sidewalk, he scooped it up and slipped it into his pocket. After visiting a video rental shop, he drove off -- $50 richer.

The wallets these people found were among those Reader's Digest staffers "lost" all over Canada. In each we put a name, local address and phone number, family pictures, receipts -- and $50 in cash.

We dropped 120 wallets -- 10 each in three large cities, three major suburban areas, three medium cities and three small towns. We left them in parking lots, malls, bus stops and on sidewalks. Then we waited to see what would happen. To each person who returned the wallet, we offered the $50 as a reward.

This was no rigorous scientific study but rather a real-life test of integrity. Would people in small towns return the wallets more often than those in big cities? Old folks more than young? Women more than men?

Every wallet told a story like the ones above -- whether of outright theft, a struggle with temptation or a refreshing affirmation of honesty... .

Out of 120 wallets dropped in Canada, 77 were returned intact -- 64 percent. In a similar Digest survey of 12 U.S. towns and cities, the figure was 67 percent. In Europe it was 58 percent; in Asia, 57 percent.

--Robert Kiener, "What do you think?
How honest are we?" Reader's Digest Canada, March 1997.


I have found people on both sides of the aisle, white and black, who will give you the shirt off their back. And I've also found people who won't give you a piece of bread if you're starving to death.

--Singer and preacher Al Green,
"What I've learned," Esquire,
November 2001, 132.


Einstein was not all that complicated. He answered the centuries-old question of whether light existed as particles or as a wave by saying, "Yes!" He said that light consisted of bundles of energy called photons, which, when they are all zipping along together, behave as a wave. Simple!

The Bible was way ahead of Einstein. The Bible refers to Christians as "children of light" (Ephesians. 5:8). We are individuals, but the Bible never refers to a "child of light." We are all members of one body. As we "zip" along together as little Christian "photons," we are a wave of light, children of light, who can make a real difference in this dark world.

--James I. Lamb, "Children of light,"
The Lutheran Witness, January 1999.


The Seven Chronicles of Narnia written by C.S. Lewis have, in their short life, become a classic on library and literature shelves for both young and old alike. The first of the seven books was made into a popular TV movie entitled, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

The last of the seven books is appropriately entitled, The Last Battle (Revelation?). In this chronicle, the evil characters are Narnian dwarfs. They are dark and gloomy folk, with sneering grins, who distrust the whole world. The basic issue is that they have chosen to live in darkness, refusing to see the good around them, refusing to believe that Aslan can bring God's light into their lives and world. So, they live in misery, squalor and self-imposed darkness... .

All of us walk close to the darkness in our journey through life. Indeed, life is a struggle to push back those dark times when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, times of grief or depression, fear or guilt, pain or illness. The good news is that we have a light to show the way, a friend to walk with us, a helping hand to lighten our burdens. As the children of Narnia discovered, Aslan was always there when they needed him most.

--G. Bradford Hall, "Children of the light," Into the Wardrobe, February 4, 1996.


The $1 bills and the $20 bills were stacked next to each other in the bank cashier's drawer. Laughter and chatter came from the stack of $20s.

"Why are you so happy?" one of the $1's asked.

"Life is so exciting!" was the reply. "We go to the best restaurants and theaters, and we take a lot of taxi rides. But why are you so sour and depressed?"

"Oh, we never go anywhere. Week after week it is nothing but the same old thing -- church, church, church."

--Mable Moeller, "LaughLines,"
Presbyterians Today, March 1999, 3.


"I think Christianity's strength lies in its message," says Forrest Church, minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City. "Jesus broke through the particularism of Judaism, summing up the commandments as love to God and love to neighbor. Many want to face life with this compelling philosophy -- a strong message in adverse times, a challenge when you're on top."

--Robert Sullivan, "2000 years of Christianity," Life, December 1999, 60.


Sam Walton -- nicknamed "Deacon" by his Bible class at church -- developed these 10 steps to building a business:

1. Commit to the business.
2. Share the profits with your associates and treat them as partners.
3. Motivate your partners.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your company.
8. Exceed your customers' expectations.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Swim upstream.
****

On a cloudless September afternoon, Don Corbert, 54, stepped out along Sunset Beach in Vancouver's West End. Jobless for nearly three years and now a resident of the city's Skid Row, the former construction worker was just passing time. As he walked, he saw a wallet on a nearby park bench.

Inside was $50 in cash -- money that could come in handy for Corbert. Then he noticed a man's ID card and pictures of a smiling mother and three young children. This guy's got a family and probably needs every cent, he thought. An hour later he called to return the wallet.

In a mini-mall within the upscale Douglasdale Estates in suburban Calgary, a fit, black-haired man in his 40s jumped out of a 1996 Toyota four-wheel-drive vehicle. Spotting a wallet on the sidewalk, he scooped it up and slipped it into his pocket. After visiting a video rental shop, he drove off -- $50 richer.

The wallets these people found were among those Reader's Digest staffers "lost" all over Canada. In each we put a name, local address and phone number, family pictures, receipts -- and $50 in cash.

We dropped 120 wallets -- 10 each in three large cities, three major suburban areas, three medium cities and three small towns. We left them in parking lots, malls, bus stops and on sidewalks. Then we waited to see what would happen. To each person who returned the wallet, we offered the $50 as a reward.

This was no rigorous scientific study but rather a real-life test of integrity. Would people in small towns return the wallets more often than those in big cities? Old folks more than young? Women more than men?

Every wallet told a story like the ones above -- whether of outright theft, a struggle with temptation or a refreshing affirmation of honesty... .

Out of 120 wallets dropped in Canada, 77 were returned intact -- 64 percent. In a similar Digest survey of 12 U.S. towns and cities, the figure was 67 percent. In Europe it was 58 percent; in Asia, 57 percent.

--Robert Kiener, "What do you think?
How honest are we?" Reader's Digest Canada, March 1997.
****

I have found people on both sides of the aisle, white and black, who will give you the shirt off their back. And I've also found people who won't give you a piece of bread if you're starving to death.

--Singer and preacher Al Green,
"What I've learned," Esquire,
November 2001, 132.
****

Einstein was not all that complicated. He answered the centuries-old question of whether light existed as particles or as a wave by saying, "Yes!" He said that light consisted of bundles of energy called photons, which, when they are all zipping along together, behave as a wave. Simple!

The Bible was way ahead of Einstein. The Bible refers to Christians as "children of light" (Ephesians. 5:8). We are individuals, but the Bible never refers to a "child of light." We are all members of one body. As we "zip" along together as little Christian "photons," we are a wave of light, children of light, who can make a real difference in this dark world.

--James I. Lamb, "Children of light,"
The Lutheran Witness, January 1999.
****

The Seven Chronicles of Narnia written by C.S. Lewis have, in their short life, become a classic on library and literature shelves for both young and old alike. The first of the seven books was made into a popular TV movie entitled, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

The last of the seven books is appropriately entitled, The Last Battle (Revelation?). In this chronicle, the evil characters are Narnian dwarfs. They are dark and gloomy folk, with sneering grins, who distrust the whole world. The basic issue is that they have chosen to live in darkness, refusing to see the good around them, refusing to believe that Aslan can bring God's light into their lives and world. So, they live in misery, squalor and self-imposed darkness... .

All of us walk close to the darkness in our journey through life. Indeed, life is a struggle to push back those dark times when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, times of grief or depression, fear or guilt, pain or illness. The good news is that we have a light to show the way, a friend to walk with us, a helping hand to lighten our burdens. As the children of Narnia discovered, Aslan was always there when they needed him most.

--G. Bradford Hall, "Children of the light," Into the Wardrobe, February 4, 1996.
****

The $1 bills and the $20 bills were stacked next to each other in the bank cashier's drawer. Laughter and chatter came from the stack of $20s.

"Why are you so happy?" one of the $1's asked.

"Life is so exciting!" was the reply. "We go to the best restaurants and theaters, and we take a lot of taxi rides. But why are you so sour and depressed?"

"Oh, we never go anywhere. Week after week it is nothing but the same old thing -- church, church, church."

--Mable Moeller, "LaughLines,"
Presbyterians Today, March 1999, 3.
****

"I think Christianity's strength lies in its message," says Forrest Church, minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City. "Jesus broke through the particularism of Judaism, summing up the commandments as love to God and love to neighbor. Many want to face life with this compelling philosophy -- a strong message in adverse times, a challenge when you're on top."

--Robert Sullivan, "2000 years of Christianity," Life, December 1999, 60.
****

I was in Colorado, lying on a bed next to my friend Ginny, whose 14-year siege of illness -- breast cancer, Meniere's disease, and parasites, to name a few -- would defeat the average mortal. But she bounces back again and again, luminously and incongruously beautiful, full of laughter and wisdom, as she was that morning, miraculously well for the first time in a month. "I don't understand this any better than I ever have," she said, "but I do know that we are living out of love, moment to moment, or we're not. It's that simple."

--Nina Rothschild Utne, "The radical power of choosing love over fear," Utne Reader, September-October 2001, 11.


Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, was a lifelong Presbyterian who gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars before his death in 1992. And his foundations continue to fund everything from college scholarships to welfare-to-work programs. Just last year, seven Presbyterian churches received $30,000 in Walton grants for new church development. And a record $190 million was donated two years ago through the "Wal-Mart Good Works" community involvement programs.


Verdicts against Wal-Mart are usually low. This is due, in part, to the enormous good will Wal-Mart has built up by its television commercials, which show friendly Wal-Mart employees, and the ability of the company's lawyers to portray plaintiffs as untruthful or exaggerating their injuries. Isolated newspaper accounts of high verdicts do not portray an accurate account of what most juries decide in Wal-Mart cases. Juries have been known to award the injured customer only his or her medical expenses and little more.

One example will illustrate this. In the state of Kentucky in 1998, there were approximately 617 jury verdicts in civil (non-criminal) cases. Of these, 29 involved Wal-Mart, the most of any single defendant. Here are the results of those cases: Wal-Mart won 9 and lost 20. Of these 29 cases, 18 involved slip and falls; the causes of the falls included a puddle (six times), leaves, lettuce, an extension cord, ketchup, ice and concrete blocks. The premises liability genre resulted in eight cases, with various items falling onto customers that included shelves (twice) and a box of diapers. In two cases, plaintiffs were struck by carts. The three other cases involved a golf-cart accident, a bad oil change on an old Mercedes and a claim of national origin discrimination filed by a West Indian.

The 20 plaintiffs' verdicts resulted in a total of $934,910 being awarded. The average award where the plaintiff won was $46,745. Removing the four largest of these verdicts from the total drops the average to $17,888 per plaintiff's verdict. If defense verdicts are included, the average award for all cases which went to trial was $32,238.

--Wal-MartLitigation.com. Retrieved October 30, 2001.


Sometimes risk-taking is nothing more than stupidity.

In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself.

This case inspired an annual award -- The "Stella" Award -- for the most frivolous lawsuit in the United States. The ones listed below are clear candidates. All these cases are verging on the outright ridiculous.

January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little fellow was Ms. Robertson's son.

June 1998: A 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car, when he was trying to steal his neighbors hubcaps.

October 1998: A Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation. Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He supposedly subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. Mr. Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance, claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars.



Children's Sermon

Shine a flashlight in the children's eyes, and tell them that they are "children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Click the flashlight off and on a few times, and ask them what's so good about light. Have them imagine themselves in a dark room, and suggest some of the trouble they could get into without a light: They could fall down, hurt themselves, hurt each other or break something. Mention that it is also hard to do anything GOOD in a dark room -- you can't work or eat or play or build anything. Shine the flashlight on them again, and encourage them to be children of light: people who do what is good and right and true. Remind them that Jesus is the light of the world, and that if they ever find themselves lost or confused or uncertain, then they can ask for Christ to shine on them (v. 14), and his light will show them the way.


Worship Resources

Invocation

Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there.
For thou alone art my King and my Lord.
ÑSt. Dimitrii of Rostov, 17th century,
The Oxford Book of Prayer, ed.
George Appleton
(Oxford University Press, 1985), 4.
Prayer

Pardon
Sleeper, awake! Rise from the deadness of your sin! In Jesus Christ, the past is finished; everything has become new! ChristÕs light shines on you!

Benediction

May God's Holy Light lead us in the way of goodness, righteousness and truth, and send us into the world to show forth the power of the Light.

Music Links

Hymns
Awake, O Sleeper
O Zion, Haste
Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service

Praise
We Believe
How Great Is Your Love
You Are the Light of the World

Prayer

Prayer

Prayer

Prayer

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