By Jared Warner
Willow Creek Friends Church
March 29, 2020
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John 11:1–45 (ESV)
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,
This week I have, like most everyone else, been stuck to the news. I am not necessarily watching in fear, but curiosity. I want to know what to look for, what to expect, what I can do to help those in need. I have seen people doing so much during this time of crisis. I have seen nurses that I am friends with go to New York to assist in the medical crisis there. I have seen a steady stream of Shipt Shoppers, coming through my store gathering groceries for people to deliver, I have even seen customers adapting to changing policies that happen without any real warning without any argument. Everyone is worried, everyone is in a state of anxiety and ignorance, yet for the most part we are in it together.
As the news of this pandemic began to hit, and as pretty much everything we used to do began to change, I found myself looking at scripture a little bit differently. I began to wonder why Jesus was so busy healing people. It is like every page of scripture we are reading that Jesus provided healing to the people of the villages around Judea. Then I began to wonder how many people really lived in that area. The truth is that Judea really did not have major cities. There were a few centers of population, like Jerusalem yet most of Judea was rural. The economy was agrarian, people raised livestock and crops. Or they process or sold items that were used in the food preparation, food consumption, or making fabrics out of the fibers produced on the farms. Yet Jesus went to these communities, villages and towns that the study of history will tell us were small, so small that if you lived in the town you would probably have known everyone living there.
Jesus went to these villages, towns that today might not even get put on the map, and it is said that he healed everyone. Which makes me wonder why so many needed healing? In a town of a hundred people how many did he heal? If anyone that is listening or reading this sermon knows the answer I would really like to know if there was a major pandemic in Judea during the first century. I wonder this because that is the perspective that we all have right now. We cannot help ourselves from bringing our current situations into our interpretation of scripture. We cannot help but bringing our personal perspective, because that is what is on our minds. When we read the verses before us we see the words and the emotions that we are feeling. We carry our own baggage in and hopefully we can leave it there and walk away a bit lighter.
This happens a great deal with literature of any type, but it happens even more when we look at scripture. When their times are a bit more stressful, the verses and passages that speak of apocalyptic events seem to jump out to us, and we begin to think this is it we are about to see the end of the age. When we are in those beginning stages of a relationship, the passages of love speak so loudly it is hard to believe that scripture speaks of anything else. When we are anxious the words of comfort and peace, draw us into their rest. Scripture is often seen as a living book not because the words change, but the people reading the words change. We as different questions, we deal with different issues and stresses, yet scripture always speaks. This book was written by farmers, fishermen, small town tax collectors, ancient professors, and even doctors. It was written by people who rarely left their own community and had no idea that there was land beyond the great sea. Yet the words they wrote still speak to us thousands of years later in communities where more people live within a square mile than lived in their entire province.
As I have sat with the scripture this week, I came to realize that for thirty years I have made assumptions about things and in the course of one week I ask a different question and suddenly I am sitting in wonder yet again.
In today’s passage we find Jesus near the end of his ministry. He is traveling through the various villages in the north and word comes to him that one of his closest friends has fallen ill. We do not know for sure how old Lazarus was. Was he a young man or someone of advanced years? Were his sisters looking to be married or were they widows whose husbands’ family were not able to care for? Was Israel at that time in a situation like ours?
The sisters knew Jesus, and they sent word to him informing their friend that their brother, the man whom Jesus loved was ill. That third verse is one of those verses that grabs hold of me. “So the sister sent to him saying, ‘Lord he whom you love is ill.’” Maybe we are too familiar with the story, but how many of us really think about what they are saying. They begin by saying Lord.
We do not live in a culture where people go around saying the word Lord. But to use that word indicates that they believe something about the one they are addressing. They believe that this person has power and authority. They call Jesus, Lord, yet they boldly approach. They believe that Jesus has power and authority, and they address him with respect, yet they do not tremble before him. They believe that God will bend to the demands of this man, yet they have no fear boldly asking this man to come see their brother.
Have you ever really considered that relationship? These women sent servants to the person they believed to be the king sent by God, and they demanded that he come near to help their brother. I do not know if we fully grasp the oddness of this. This is something that is out of character to the social structures of the ancient world. These women were bold, demanding, and unafraid. There is awe and intimacy in this exchange, and it is powerful.
Do we approach people like this? Do we approach God like this? Do we think that the issues that we face are something important enough to petition those in authority? Or do we simply think that everything that happens to us is fate that we must endure? Jesus listened to the message from these two women. And his response was, “this illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God my be glorified through it.” The servant took this response to the women. Imagine what a relief they would have felt at those words. But Jesus did not come, he stayed two days longer.
Imagine the anxiety Martha and Mary must have felt as they ministered to their brother’s needs as his illness progressed. Imagine them sitting at his bedside, wiping his brow with a wet cloth as a fever gripped him. They had sent for Jesus, and for two days they waited after the messengers returned yet nothing happened, nothing changed, and Lazarus their beloved brother slipped deeper into the illness. They sat there with the promise that this illness does not lead to death, yet they watched as the hand of death pulled their life from this man who had been their provider.
These women had faith that I could only dream of having. So often today people will say if you just have faith God will heal, or that it is God’s will that you will be healed. If faith was the measure of blessing, these women’s account was abundant. They even had the word of promise that the Son of God would be glorified through the outcome of this man’s illness. Yet they watched their brother slip beyond the veil of life.
Jesus loved this family, yet he stayed where he was for two more days. The disciples knew that Jesus loved this family and they assumed that they stayed in the northern region because the Jews were threatening to kill their teacher. Then all at once after two days of knowing about the illness of their dear friend, Jesus say, “alright boys let’s go to Judea.” They are floored by this statement. Why go now? We have been here two days, and now you want to go. And Jesus says something that confused them, and to be honest me. “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
This is strange, but it goes with the ideas of light and darkness, ignorance and wisdom, fear and hope. Jesus told the sisters that the Son of God will be glorified through this illness. That is the light. Yet the disciples, the sisters, and even Lazarus are not focused on the light. They are focused on the fear, they are gripped by their own lack of knowledge and they lose hope. They begin to wonder if maybe they made a wrong turn somewhere.
The promise was that, “this illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” That is a great promise. That is the one I am looking for in my stressful situations. But the reality that was facing them, was that the illness did lead to death, and Lazarus was bound in death’s clothes for four days and sealed behind a stone.
How many of us have been in that place? We had the hope and assurance that God was going to provide, yet things did not turn out the way that we had anticipated. Every day you praised God in the storm, in the illness yet your business failed, someone close that was ill continued to get worse, your spouse left, or your child made a choice that led them down a path of darkness. You had faith but the promise seemed to fall away.
The disciples were confused, Martha and Mary were mourning the loss of their brother, and we are often right there with them.
As Jesus approached the village of Bethany Martha and Mary both came out to him. They both cried, “If only you were here.” If only you were here, yet they knew that Jesus could have commanded that Lazarus could have been healed wherever he was, and he would have been healed. They had seen it happen with others, yet this man who was loved deeply by Jesus, still died.
As I read these verses the raw emotion always grips my heart. Often my breath catches when I read the words, “Jesus wept.” Jesus had the very same emotions that we have. Martha and Mary were confused, they knew that Jesus could heal their brother, they had faith, but they did not understand why he would not do what he did for others for the one he loved. And Jesus did not negate their emotions, he did not tell them to get a grip and keep a stiff upper lip, Jesus wept right along with them.
The promise is that God and the Son will be glorified through our lives. The reality is often life just sucks. I have been fired from jobs even as I knew that I was doing the will of God. I drove home wondering why this happened to me, when God knew full well that I would not be able to survive if I did not have a job. Yet, in that moment, my sister told me, “God gave you space because he knew you needed it.” At that time, I was working two jobs and getting my master’s degree. I was reading till three am and waking up to work at six. I was nearing a breakdown and I did not know it. In my mind something terrible happened but the truth was that I was stumbling in the darkness, and I could only see the light again when I could no longer rely on myself.
We are stumbling in the darkness right now. We are all wondering what is going on. Many of us are afraid. I ask what is God showing you during this time of darkness we are experiencing? The promise given to those women who boldly approached Jesus, was that this illness will not lead to death, but God will be glorified.” Are we living our life in this situation to bring glory to God, or are we stumbling in the darkness? If you are stumbling pray that you will be able to see God’s glory. If you are not stumbling give thanksgiving that God is with you through the storm. If you are just getting by pray that you will have the strength to keep going. And if you do not know what to think or where to turn, rest in the arms of God. As we pray, praise, move forward, and rest let us always remember the promise, and the reality that even in our darkness, Jesus wept. And in the end, God will be glorified. Because God will call out to those he loves, and we will rise and embrace him.
As we some time this day to sit in holy expectancy, I encourage you to consider Mary and Martha, consider the emotions and the loss. Consider the joy and celebration and consider our own lives. Lazarus was dead for four days, buried in a tomb and the community knew that. And Lazarus lived again. There is more going on than we are aware of, and God is going to use this dark time for his glory, will you join him?
Walk as Children of Light:
Sermon Was Presented on March 22, 2020
CCLI # 1863824 CCLI Streaming # 20222278
During this time of Quarantine requiring many to stay home please consider supporting the ministries of Willow Creek Friends Church, Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America Yearly Meeting, and Evangelical Friends Missions.
By Jared Warner
Willow Creek Friends Church
March 22, 2020
Ephesians 5:8–14 (ESV)
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
The past few weeks have been days that has thrown me for a real loop. I mentioned last week that I am not used to living in an era where March is without basketball. I would say without the madness, but I work in retail and the paper good aisles are still empty. I do not want to joke about that too much because things are serious. We are advised to stay home. Just yesterday the news advised that our schools will be closed for another month, and that any non-essential laborer is advised to stay home. And for the first time since 1918, the Meeting of Evangelical Friends Church in Mid America Yearly Meeting have advised meetings for worship be postponed. There is plenty of stress going around. There is plenty of anxiety. It is difficult for us to look at our communities and see anything positive to speak about.
But I work in one of those industries that is considered essential, so while others are working from home, or trying to keep young students focused I am at work. And while I am working, either at the store or delivering groceries I interact with people, using the advised social distancing.
Today I move away from my traditional sermon on a gospel reading and encourage us to engage with one of Paul’s letters, Ephesians. The city of Ephesus is important to the emerging church. It is one of those seven churches of Asia that John wrote the Revelation of Jesus to which we can read about in the last book of the Bible. In that letter to the church, well to the angel of the church in Ephesus, something is said that is very important. There is some debate as to what the angel of the church means, some say it is the guardian angel charged with protecting the church and others say that it is symbolic speech that indicates the bishop of the church. I personally think that it is to the leaders. But in that letter John writes, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” This is very profound. We know Ephesus to be true. They know what they believe, and they live by it. This is a testimony to their response to the teaching and encouragement that they had received from the moment they first heard the gospel to the closing of the apostolic age of the church.
They work, they toil, they endure, and they will not stand for evil. In today’s passage this is exactly what Paul encourages them to do. Some people believe that Ephesus was the central church of Asia at that time. Many believe that Paul set up a sort of primitive seminary in this city, so it became this preacher making and sending metropolis situated on the shores of great sea. They send these teachers and preachers throughout the Empire. It was in this city that Apollos was taught the truth of the gospel. It was in Ephesus that it is believed that the Last Apostle, John, lived out his life. It was in this city that we see a dramatic change.
Ephesus was once the site of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was the site of the Temple of Artemis, and as Paul preached in this city it threatened the economy, because people that listened to the Gospel of Jesus turned from idol worship and stopped buying the silver idols being sold to those visiting the Temple.
To speak out against Artemis in this region was as offensive to the people as not standing for the national anthem is here. Their lives revolved around, and their identity was found in this temple. When the message of Christ came into their land, the people had a hard decision to make. Would they turn not only from their family and nation and take on the lifestyle of Christ, or would they continue in the life and lifestyle they had always known. I think it important for us to think about this for a moment. When Paul writes these words, he is not just speaking about abstract theory, but tangible reality. To claim Christ in Ephesus, was to be unpatriotic. It was to leave nationalism behind to focus on something different and greater. When Paul speaks of darkness and light, we often think that he is speaking in spiritual language, but it is deeper. He is speaking of life and lifestyle; he is speaking about the very essence of who we are.
“[F]or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” In scripture there is symbolic use of ideas of light and darkness. This symbolism goes to the very beginning of our human understanding, to our first parents Adam and Eve. In that narrative Adam and Eve were living in the garden of Eden. They had all that they could possibly need, and God walked with them in the cool of the evenings. We do not know how long Adam and Eve walked in the garden like this, but we know that eventually they turned from this lifestyle. I love this narrative, because there is so much that we can learn from it. The story is more than just a story of why the world is a mess, but it is a story of each of our lives. It is a story of the natural growth of a child into adulthood. It is a story of the decisions we make and how we make them.
Many of us think back to our childhood and have fond memories. Memories of an easy life. There were no worries, no bills to pay, and pretty much life was perfect. Then we became an adult. Once we become an adult, trouble begins. We make choices between food or pleasure, rent or entertainment. We quickly realize that we must work hard to simply get by. We did not have to do this as a child. We might help our parents with various income making projects, but our parents shielded us from the reality that those that do not work do not eat.
As we mature, we begin to make larger decision that affect our life and the lives of those around us. Will we follow the teachings of those that cared for us while we walked in the gardens of our youth or will we turn? Light and Darkness. God walked with the young Adam and Eve. I love going on walks. I particularly love going on walks on trails in the wilderness, but the best walks are with children because when we walk with children, they see things that we do not see. They remind us of the awe of the world around us. The picture that I have shared on the various slides is one that I took on one of my walks back home on the farm. As we walk with a child, we often use those moments to teach them many things. We look at flowers and we teach them. The teaching can go from how the flower makes a seed and the see become food for us and other animals, we might teach them about the bees and how the pollen from flowers become honey. We teach them how to great people we see; we teach them how to be safe and what we should and should not touch. We teach as we walk. And God taught our first parents just as we teach our children. They grew, they matured, and they came to a point in life that they had to make their own decision. They looked at all the fruit in the garden and realized that the fruit of the tree God told them to avoid looked just as good as the other fruit, so they ate it. They made a choice and as a result they turned away from their teaching, and as a result there was consequences to their actions.
As our first parents walked with God they were in the light. Light is symbolic of wisdom, and knowledge. It is the divinely inspired knowledge that is used to make our decisions. While Adam and Eve walked with God they were in the light. But the moment they decided to turn from that divine directive, they turned away from the light and found themselves immersed in shadow. And shadows often play tricks.
You might have noticed that when the lights go off, the things in our rooms change shape. The artwork that my son has drawn that we have put on display look amazing when the lights are on, but when the lights go off those same drawings become the things of nightmares. I simple sheet of paper can cast a shadow on the wall that our eyes interpret as a giant spider or a bat. And when the air moves through the vents, those shadow move and suddenly fear grabs hold and you scream. Then all at once the light comes on and you sit in confusion because where you were thought for sure a bat once was, is now only a page with a drawing.
This is the difference between light and darkness. Darkness draws on our fears and ignorance. When we make decisions in darkness, we respond in the short-term frame of mind. We might call it the instinctual responses; fight or flight, eat or be eaten. We look at what is before us and we respond immediately. Our adrenaline is pumping, the stress is high. But if we meet that decision and are unaware, we will often make a decision that will cost us in the long run. Adam and Eve were hungry, and they saw fruit and they ate it, now the world sucks.
“But now you are light in the Lord,” Paul says, “Walk as children of light.”
Do you know a person that is cool under pressure? The world around them seems to be chaotic yet they seem at peace. Your mind is frantic, yet they are calm. What is the difference? Light and dark.
If darkness is ignorance, light is wisdom. Imagine someone you love has fallen and broken their arm, what will you do. The tears are falling, and you cannot tell if the screams are yours or theirs. You are in the darkness, you do not know what to do, but there is a nurse in the ER that softly speaks to you and the screaming ceases. Their gentle hands and voice examine the limb and they take you to see the doctor. The doctor is confident and sets your heart at ease, she knows exactly what to do and you bravely face the pain and all at once there is a cast on the arm and you have a piece of candy and a large bill. In that situation you were in the dark, and the doctor and nurse were in the light. You were ignorant or without knowledge, and they had the wisdom or ability to apply knowledge.
“[F]or the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” If we go back to our first parents, Adam and Eve, they were hungry, and they ate fruit from the tree that God commanded them not to eat. They turned from God’s teaching and in the short term they were full, but the long-term results of that action left them struggling. People that live in darkness are often reactionary. They come to a quick decision and alleviate one problem, but because they were making the decision under duress, they failed to consider other possible issues that might result from their action. And due to that ignorance, they now have two other problems caused by the solution of first. It is often a story we see played out on the news, especially during campaigns. Everyone has a solution to the problem. The fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.
The doctor knows that a broken arm needs to be properly set, or the bone will heal improperly causing more problems in the future. If I was ignorant of the broken bone, and only treated the pain I would only cause greater pain in the future. Those that live in the light can approach the problem in a way that they can see the possibilities before them. They are aware of these possibilities because they taken the time to learn what might happen in each situation, or maybe they have seen it before and know what does not work. They know what is good and they know what could be better and they strive to make an environment for the best-case scenario to occur. But the most important statement in this section of verses is found in the tenth verse, “ant try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
Discernment a powerful trait to possess. To discern is to test and found genuine, valuable, and approved. To discern takes time, but when we take the time to allow the process to move forward the long-term results are often better. Those that walk in the light, do not let the energy, emotion or stress pushing in on them, turn their attention. They remain focused. They remain calm. They look at what is presented, and they consider various solutions, and as they take the time to process, they find the one way forward that is best for all involved.
Ephesus learned how to discern. They had knowledge and implemented that knowledge effectively. And they should because that was the lifestyle they were taught. But there is more to the letter that John wrote to their angel. “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first.”
I mentioned before that the Temple of Artemis was the national identity of the people prior to their coming to Christ. Anything that spoke out against that was perceived as a threat to the very nation. Paul says that that lifestyle was darkness, but why? Because it was often a lifestyle that dwelt on the darkness of life. It focused on ignorance and alleviating the short-term problem at the expense of the long-term solution. When Jesus speaks against the angel of the church of Ephesus, he is saying you have done so much right, but you have turned something good into the very thing you left.
The temple of the idol was replaced with the pillars of faith, but they constructed a religious framework at the expense of life with God and others. Their quest for holy knowledge, prevented them to bear fruit of light that is found in all that is good and right and true. Their quest for having the right doctrine did not take them to walking or living that truth in their lives. They had knowledge but they were unable to implement the knowledge, so they were left in ignorance. And if they are left in ignorance, they are not in the light but darkness. They traded one form of darkness, for another. They turn to walk toward the light only to walk beyond it and back into the shadows.
This week as I spent time at work, I saw the fruit of ignorance and that of light. I have seen people driven by fear and people doing all that they could to bear fruit of light. There were people whose were driven by such fear that when they were told they could only purchase one package of toilet paper, they were unable to see that by throwing the other packages at the cashier they could have found themselves charged with assault. Darkness does surround us, but there is also light. I work in security and I also deliver groceries. This week I delivered several orders for people that recognized that they should not get out for various reasons. And as I gathered the supplies, they requested very few got upset that something was not found. And when presented with options we usually found solutions together. And this week several people have tried plant-based protein sources because someone took the time to tell them exactly what it was and how it can be prepared.
We can be driven by fear or darkness, or we can be discerning people walking in light. We can focus on the short-term or work together to find long-term solutions. Paul began this chapter by saying, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” To walk in light, we must take on the lifestyle of Christ: Loving God, Embracing the Holy Spirit and living the love of Christ with others. We participate in this lifestyle when we come together to worship, when we withdraw to pray in an isolated place, and when we help others in various ways. We participate in this lifestyle when we stop looking at our own short-term benefits and instead look for ways to become a blessing for others.
As you take some time to center on Christ in centered worship, or communion in the manner of Friends. I encourage you to look at how you have approached your life over the past week and ask if you have been living in darkness or light. Have your actions reflected the life of Christ? And as we approach the week ahead of us, how can be bear fruit of light.