Come to the Light

Key Text: John 12:46

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

I always find it interesting that around Easter each year the movers and shakers in the world of popular media – especially television – seem to go on a religious kick of sorts.

By that, I don’t mean that all of a sudden the media moguls start making prime time confessions of faith, far from it.  In fact, often it seems they are all about doing things to call traditional faith into question.  Suddenly there are specials about the “mysteries” of various religious faiths; explorations into questions of the “afterlife” and whether or not it is real.

There are also those who insist on wheeling out the “oldies but goodies” – like classic films depicting the life of Moses or Ben Hur or Jesus.

And then there are the new upstarts who produce mega-buck epic films, like the recently aired “A.D.” miniseries.

Again, I don’t think it is all about bringing people to a relationship with Christ.  In many cases, it may be primarily about money.  “It’s Easter…let’s cash in on religion!”

Hopefully, the “A.D.” miniseries is at heart an honest attempt to get people thinking about the life of Christ in a thoughtful, perhaps life changing way.  Time will tell.

As for the rest of the media blitz – well, I am far less charitable about it.

Now, all this leads me to a suggestion.

If you want to get to know Jesus better – better yet, if you want to know the risen Christ better – let me suggest you open the Bible, open your heart, and ask for guidance.  Forget the New York Times best sellers on the afterlife; turn off the TV miniseries, or at least don’t take these offerings has the “final word” on who Christ is.

Seek Him yourself – in reading, in study, in prayer, in an open and listening spirit.

I believe if you do – the light will come on – literally.  I believe you will be led to know Christ in new and powerful ways.  And prime time TV won’t have much to do with it.

After all, that’s what He came to do: to bring others to the light.   But don’t take my word for it – take His:

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

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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