Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament passage for this week, from Isaiah 60:1-6, depicts God’s people as a beacon reflecting their Lord’s light. It is glory from God, shining on the nations who surround them, those who are in darkness (v. 2). We recall that, especially in the Bible, the place of darkness is a place of danger. It’s where natural hazards lurk, where you can fall off a cliff or into a pit, become entangled in undergrowth, or be attacked by animals or criminals. The darkness of our modern world is no less dangerous. We hear of those who sought out alliances with others who would help them go to a new land, a place of opportunity and prosperity, only to find themselves involved in human or drug trafficking. We hear of those who set out to make a new life for themselves but find their old problems following them. I recall vividly when I was in college learning of the case of a man who worked hard for his employer, tirelessly exceeding his expectations, and was given an unexpected day off to go golfing, only to be struck by lightning and die. We never know what dangers are in the darkness all around us. We can’t see them coming. Those we do see we often misunderstand. What do we need to do? We need to go to the light of God, reflected from His people. Here we can see and understand (v. 5). Here we will find the abundance of the sea: food, treasure, access to different places, trade and commerce.
What is the ultimate goal of being in the light? It is to see the true eternal treasure, that which will never pass away. We find this foreshadowed in verse six, where we have people coming from the East, with gold and frankincense, gifts presented to Jesus. Along with those gifts, we find good news, the joyful message that Jesus, the light of the world, has come. This is the hope we have been looking for all along. When we see the world as illuminated by the Christ, we can see clearly. We know that he is the one who has conquered all ultimate danger on our behalf. We can live and even die in peace and safety.
As we move into the season of Epiphany, my prayer is that my readers will increasingly see that Jesus is the light of the world, the one we need.
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