Rev. George Miller
March 26, 2017
How do we know?
How do we know that we are loved?
The way someone speaks to us?
The little things they do?
The way their body seems open,
easing into the space we share?
Their eyes- how they look at us, feel warm, engaged.
My Dad would get this twinkle in his eye that was unmistakable and even 22 years after his death, completely unforgettable.
How my Dad’s eyes would be full of light…
Light plays such an important role in today’s reading- it’s mentioned 5 times in 7 verses.
“You are light.”
“The fruit of light.”
“Live as children of light.”
Don’t you just like that? “Live as children of light.”
In other words- live as descendants of your Holy Parent’s twinkling eyes.
Last week we talked about loving God simply for being God, not as a product that had to perform on our behalf.
Today, you are invited to wonder- how do you see God in your heart’s mind?
If God was before you in bodily form, how would you picture the Holy Presence?
Hair- what kind, how much?
Hands- folded, on hips, extended?
Shoulders- slim or large enough to rest your head on?
Body- lean, beefy, muscular, plump?
Mouth- smiling, scowl, full lips, thin?
Do you see God’s eyes twinkling like the lights on 28 as they reflect on Lake Jackson, or as stars in a clear sky?
Like someone you care about when they smile?
As Christians, we believe we get a glimpse of God in the person of Jesus.
We say that in Jesus Christ we have experienced the fullness of God through the things Jesus said, the people he dined with, the way in which he talked about blessings, banquets, and lost sheep that were searched for.
When Jesus was alive, he would walk past people and they couldn’t help but say-
Behold the Wisdom of God!
Behold the Son of God!
Behold the Light of the Lord!
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, word spread, people came to know, and people came to experience what it all meant.
They found Jesus in the church.
But what is a church?
A gathering of people?
A place of fellowship?
A political organization?
A house of praise?
A place of mission?
And what does it mean to be a Christian; to be a follower of Christ?
Today’s letter tries to answer some of those questions. The author states that-
We are no longer living dead end lives defeated by sin and mired in mistakes.
We are no longer alone but unified in the universal body of Christ in which we care about and have concern over one another.
We live in the light of God’s twinkling eyes.
In verse 10 the writer writes “Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.”
What a likeable line- it sounds so inviting, so radically welcoming, yet so aware of our uniqueness and where each and every one of us are on our particular journey.
Such a different conceit than the Laws or Commandments.
So much freedom in that word.
Such an invitation to explore, to wonder, to engage, to seek, to ask-
“Hey, God- what’s pleasing to you? What is it you like?”
In this portion of the letter we find this notion that in a world seemingly surrounded by darkness, in a world full of fury and fruitlessness,
in a world caught up in un-pleasantries, slander, and shame, the followers of Jesus are invited to be different and to boldly say-
“OK God- what can we do to ease your mind and make your eyes twinkle?”
The adopted children of Christ are ushered off the harsh midnight streets and told “Things don’t have to be so hard. Come- wash, eat, sit by the fireplace and let the heat warm you up and the light shine upon you.”
Now, of course no one is naïve- we know there will always be moments of darkness, moments of deep, deep hurt.
Dark moments that just happen due to things like weather, chance, illness. Dark moments caused by another. Dark moments caused by us.
But even in those dark moments is the flicker of light; that flicker that says “God is here.”
Even when we seem to be the one shutting off the light, God does not say “Well- that’s it; that’s the last time!”
God is there; God does not leave.
God does not abandon; God does not desert.
God’s love is not based on our perfection or our performance.
God’s love is based on God being God.
God’s love is based on God being love.
Because of Jesus, and because we are justified in Christ, we get to try again.
Try to find out what is pleasing to God. Try to find out what makes God smile. Try to find out what makes God’s eyes twinkle.
And we are not talking about tasks you can do, or work that needs to be performed, because Lord knows ya’ll feel like you’re constantly being asked to do, do, do, do, do and give, give, give, give, give.
The kinds of things we’re talking about are not things to put on your to-do-list.
But those fruits of light that makes life so good and makes God’s eyes twinkle.
Like peace, like joy, like kindness, like contentment, like sweetness.
Because chances are these fruits will make our eyes twinkle too.
We are Children of Light. Descendants of goodness, descendents of mercy.
Descendants of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 500th chances.
We try because we know we are loved. We try because we know we are justified in Christ.
We try because when our Heavenly Parent smiles, we can’t help but to smile too.
Amen and amen.
Note- a portion of today’s message is inspired by the article “The Longing for God Alone” by Sheila Walsh as it appeared in the February 2017 edition of Mature Living