Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer

Devotion for February 26, 2021 from Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer:
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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Once, in the middle of the night, I was trying to navigate my way into another room without turning on the light.  I was walking with my arms straight out in front of me (picture Frankenstein), feeling for the door.  Wham!  My forehead encountered the narrow edge of the door as both arms passed on both sides of the open door!  I was unhurt, just startled, and I laughed aloud at my half-awake nighttime navigational error of trying to move around without  turning on the light.

In this time of Covid-19, when so much of life feels dark, I have to wonder sometimes why I choose not to turn on the light.  Let me tell you what I mean.  Instead of choosing to go outside for a walk, I lose myself in the computer playing Sudoku for waaaay longer than I should.  Sometimes I keep working waaaay into the night, instead of simply going to bed and getting the rest that I need.  Sometimes, like the other night, I jump up and make fudge – fudge! – when there are lovely, healthy foods that I really like right there in the fridge!  I feel like I’m on auto pilot, staggering Frankenstein-like into dark behavior that has the potential to hit me in the middle of the forehead – wham! – as my body becomes more and more unfit, stressed-out, and overweight.  I suspect I am not alone in these kinds of behaviors.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Sudoku, or working, or even fudge. It is the unconsciousness excess of these things that is the whammy, being in the dark about patterns that are self-destructive.  So, what can we do?  What helps?
Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.”  Jesus is light in our darkness, not because the light brings us happy-happy-joy-joy but because of what the light – our light – reveals.  Because of the light of Jesus I can acknowledge that I am sad – and angry – and every other emotion that arises when our lives are so disrupted for such a long period of time.  Because of the light of Jesus I can acknowledge that this time of standing still, of staying home, of missing – of missing so many things – is incredibly hard!  Because of the revealing light of Jesus I can face the reality that dong one’s job can endanger your family, and face that it is hard not to back off of certain protocols that can endanger yourself, your family, or your neighbors and co-workers, and also face that I fall short time and again.

And – because of the light of Jesus, I have hope in the fact that our love for others and theirs for us will never go away.  Jesus’ light gives me courage to carry on, day by day.  I have hope that we will be able to hug each other again some day, and that loving others means we refrain from hugging – and so much more – until it is safer.  I am grateful to live in the light, and and to have prayer, and church, and music, and the ability to take a break from work.  A walk in the sunshine, a phone call to a loved one, and to eat good food (even fudge in moderation!) are all ways that reveal Jesus’ light to our weary souls.  Take care, my beloved ones.  When we feel that darkness, know, that Jesus’ light is shining, whether we can see it or not, for you, for us all. 

In Christ, Pastor Barbara

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