When the writer Robert Louis Stevenson was a little boy, he was sitting one night by a window in his room, watching a lamplighter light the streetlights below. When his nurse walked in and asked him what he was doing, young Robert answered, “I’m watching a man make holes in the darkness.” Every time we lift up Jesus Christ, every time we stand tall for Jesus Christ, every time we live in the Spirit of Christ or share the truth of Christ with others, we are punching holes in the darkness!
Remember that old proverb: “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Indeed so. Over two thousand and twenty years ago God brought Christ into the world as a human being to show us the light which created the world, the light of love in which we live our lives. It is our part to walk in that light. It is our part to live in that light, and share that light with our world.
So, we believers in the Word of God – Christ – made human, give testimony as John did. We who believe that God resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead, we believers who live in Christ, we believers who are glorified to God and reconciled to others, give testimony as John says. We have come to believe in the power of life to create and transform, and we simply have to tell others – certainly with our words, but even more importantly with our lives. God’s transforming power begins to make us more and more alive the sooner we all come to believe in God’s power of life over the powers of death.
The powers of life are shown to us by Jesus Christ, and include such powers as humility, vulnerability, self-giving love, optimism, gifts of Holy Spirit, compassionate love, joy, peace, mercy, forgiveness, new life, and trusting in God (to name a few). The powers of death which we create involve selfishness, negativity, closed-minded prejudice, hate, envy, jealousy, ignorance, anxiety-ridden fear, violence, poverty and injustice. God’s transforming powers of life heals us from the effects of those powers of death in our lives.
Think of that most memorable verse, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The words “eternal life” point to a Jewish concept in which God’s reign of life will reign completely over all the powers of death. John 3:16 is testifying to this: that for those who believe and live in the communion of God, Spirit, in Christ, who is embracing us (loving us) now, then the time of God’s power of life begins now! We can have eternal life in Christ with God beginning now! Today! We can begin living into that time and thus find our lives changing for the better. Believing in Jesus Christ, and living by the faithful ways of Christ begin transforming our lives in the here and now.
This is why the Gospel of John begins its testimony to God’s power of life all the way back to the beginning of time. In Jesus Christ we see that God is light, and in God there is no darkness at all. That light is the power to give life. We are called to walk and live in the light of Christ with the Spirit of God. So, in Christ, we come to know the truth that with God it is always and only about life, never death. This is huge! I think we have problems comprehending and accepting it.
For example, it’s not necessary to be rude or harsh or hateful or hostile to others or ourselves! We can be kind. We can speak words of kindness. One of the most important signs of Christian faith is kindness and respecting others.
Let’s be honest now! Are we learning and teaching others that kind words are powers of life? Are we learning, and teaching others that expressing thanksgiving and respect for others are powerful ways of life? This is our calling: to speak so that our words reflect kindness, appreciation, and love; to fill the air with the encouragement of new life; and to profess the power of trusting in God.
Rev. Tom Cici is the pastor at First Christian Church of Hoopeston (502 E. Main St). Please go to www.fcchoopeston.org for inspirational sermons and much more.