Associate Pastor, the Rev. Bernadine "Bernie" Johnson The Rev. Bernadine Johnson is an ordained deacon in full connection in the Louisiana Conference, and was a delegate to the 2008 General Conference and to the 2008 and the 2004 South Central Jurisdictional Conferences. She serves as chairperson of the Order of Deacons and on the Executive Committee of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. She also serves on the Conference Relations Committee and on the Baton Rouge District Committee on Ministry.
Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the LORD's glory has shone upon you. Though darkness covers the earth and gloom the nations, the LORD will shine upon you; God's glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning radiance. Isaiah 60:1-3
Sometimes people prefer the darkness because in the light they see too much.
There is an old story about a desert nomad who woke up in the middle of the night feeling very hungry. He lit a candle and began eating dates from a bowl beside his bed. He took a bite from one and saw a worm in it; so he threw it out of the tent. He bit into the second date, found another worm, and threw it away also. Reasoning that he wouldn't have any dates left to eat if he continued to throw them away, he blew out the candle and quickly ate the rest of the dates.
Darkness is usually scary for us. In the Bible and in our culture, darkness is associated with things that are evil and with death. Security experts tell us to keep the exterior of our homes well lighted at night, keep an indoor light on a timer when we are away, and park in well-lit areas because many crimes are committed under the cover of darkness. We think of many acts of cruelty and violence as coming from our dark side. Even Death itself is described as something dark and sinister.
However, we are reminded that God’s first act of creation was to separate light from darkness. This is a big clue that light is important to God and to his created order. When we read in Isaiah, “Arise, shine for your light has come,” the light is understood as the light God created coming to us in the form of his son Jesus. The light of Christ chases away all shadows and darkness in our lives. The light exposes those dark private corners of our lives that we prefer to keep hidden. Wherever there is darkness in our family, in our friendships, in our community, Christ has come to shed light on all those areas of our lives to restore peace and harmony and joy.
The good news for us is that in his light, the darkness around us and in the lives of others is replaced with hope, love, and forgiveness. The good news for us is that nothing in all creation, not even death itself, that can separate us from Christ’s loving presence with us. Jesus the Christ is Emmanuel, God with us.
The Wesley Perspective, December 2012
Wesley United Methodist Church 544 Government Street, Baton Rouge LA 70802 * (225)343-8421 * email@example.com * Rev. Fredrick Sweetwyne, Pastor