Week 31 Sunday

Light and Life

Today’s scripture selection: John 1-2

Key Verses: John 1:4-5

     I love the way the apostle John begins his gospel.

     While the other gospel writers start right in with the historic details of Jesus’ life – John takes another, much more dramatic, angle.

     “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

     When you start the story that way – you just know something dramatic is ahead.  And then there’s this:

     “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”

     Jesus as the Word of Life – and the Everlasting Light that once and for all conquers the darkness – dramatic stuff indeed.

     People have all sorts of opinion about who this Jesus is.

     For some, he’s a great teacher – along with all the other great philosophers and teachers.  For others, he’s a miracle worker.  Still others like to focus on his compassion or strength.  We have country songs about Jesus “taking the wheel” of our life; and rock songs that say “Jesus is just O.K. with me.” And there are more theologians than you can shake a stick at, all with their own books and lofty ideas about who the Nazarene was and who the risen Christ is.  But for John – it’s clear – Christ is the light of the world; and the one source of everlasting life.  And the darkness of this world – the evil and confusion and hardship and illness and death that threatens us daily? – it’s what Christ has conquered – forever.

     It’s all about spiritual warfare.  There is a clear victor and an equally clear, vanquished foe.

     I don’t know about you, but I find that very comforting.

     There are many things I don’t understand about life these days.  But one thing I do know – Christ is the answer to my deepest questions; the fulfillment of my deepest needs.  How about you?

Who is the Word; the Light; the Life – to you?

Prayer: Lord, when the darkness seems to be winning, remind me that you have already conquered it – that it has never understood you – and never will.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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