Fifth Sunday in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

John 12:36 – While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become children of the light.

I remember well the day I sat in the jail and watched the horror of Columbine unfold on the news. That event defined for the world the anger and fear in my generation. And only a few short years later I was on a transportation bus listening to the horror of the September 11th attacks unfold. Both events were crimes and horrors of such great magnitude. It seemed and felt as if the darkness of the world was overcoming all the good.

But as time went past we began to see the full picture. In the face of fear and death we heard about teachers and students who helped others and saved lives. We heard not just about the bravery of the firefighters, police, and E.M.T.s, but also the courage and heroism of secretaries and stockbrokers. We heard about the airplane passengers like Mark Beemer who died to save others, and the martyrdom of a young woman named Cassie Bernal who died because she refused to deny God when someone put a gun to her head. And for me the greatest act was when the students of Columbine erected crosses for their fallen friends, and also put up two crosses for the murderers. They had done such horrible things, but were also victims of fear, hate, rejection, and hopelessness.

The world is, at times, a very dark place and there are times when God seems silent. But God is never silent. God is with us, and we are the lights shining in the world. It is only when the night is the darkest, that the light shines the brightest.

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, one God, now and for ever. Amen” BCP 167

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