12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”[f]
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Let me begin by stating the obvious. It’s a new year. New challenges lie ahead, but so do new opportunities. Our nation is in turmoil, with so many of us isolated and poised in an adversarial position to others. We have strong opinions, and strong convictions, borne of our beliefs – and there is nothing wrong with that – in and of itself. But too many have crossed the line, as I said in a recent sermon, moving from a position of conviction to one of contempt for those with whom we disagree.
That can leave us in a very dark place.
So, let me suggest that we all take a step into the light. Let us follow Christ’s example. Let us stand for the right, and speak truth in love – but always – in love.
It isn’t about win/lose. It’s about sharing the gospel of God’s love in word and action alike.
I don’t pretend that this is an easy thing to do but I believe we can do it – and that we must.
It’s a new year. Let’s begin it in prayer, in humility, in willingness to listen before we speak. Let’s begin it by shining the light of God’s love, in Christ’s name, where – at least for now – there seems only to be darkness.