Children of Light-Readings for 4th Sunday of Lent
he Fourth Sunday of Lent-Children of Light
March 22, 2020
Today is called “Laetare Sunday” because our Scripture readings today focus on Jesus Christ as the light of the world. By virtue of our baptism and in the power of the Holy Spirit, each Christian believer is called to carry the light of Christ in this world. This is particularly true at this time when the whole world is enveloped in the darkness of fear, disease and death. While taking necessary precautions, as the followers of Jesus, we are called to live by faith and not by fear.
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:8-10
Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for your at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to St. John 9:5
"I am the Light of the world."
Truly, to be "children of light" in a dark time. Below is a description of children of light written by a Christian writer named Dallas Willard. As you read his description, open your heart and pray that God will continue his work of transforming you into a child of light.
Children of Light
– Now, the children of light are not perfect and do not live in a perfect world – yet. But they are remarkably different from others. Where the children of light differ is primarily and most importantly on the "inside". The difference lies in what they are in their depths.
perhaps the first thing that comes to our attention when we get to know their inner life is what they think about, what is on their minds. Simply stated, they think about God. He is never out of their minds. They love to dwell upon God and upon his greatness and loveliness, as brought to light by Jesus Christ. They adore him in nature, in history, in his Son and in his saints. One could even say they are "God-intoxicated", although no one has a stronger sense of reality and practicality than they do. Their minds are filled with biblical expressions of God's nature, his actions, and his plans for them in his world. They do not dwell upon evil. It is not a big thing in their thoughts. They are sure of its defeat. Because their minds are centered upon God and oriented with reference to him, all other good things are also welcome there: "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)
The emotional life of these children of light is characterized by love. That is how they invest the emotional side of their being. They love lots of good things and they love people. They love their lives and who they are. They are thankful for their lives – even though they may contain many difficulties, even persecution and martyrdom. They receive all of it as God's gift, or at least as his allowance, where they will know his goodness and greatness and go on to live with him forever. And so joy and peace are with them even in the hardest of times. Because of what they have learned about God, they are confident and hopeful and do not indulge thoughts of rejection, failure, and hopelessness, because they know better.
Looking a little deeper we find that these children of light really are devoted to doing what is good and right. Their will are is habitually attuned to it, just as their minds and emotions are habitually homing in on God. They are attentive to rightness, to kindness, to helpfulness, and therefore purposefully knowledgeable about life, about what people need, about how to do what is right and good in appropriate ways.
These are people who do not think first of themselves and what they want, and they really care very little, if at all, about getting their own way. "That each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not look out for your own personal interests, but for the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4) These are easy and good words to them. They are abandoned to God's will and they do not hesitate to do what they know to be right. It is the obvious thing to do.
Their bodies have come over to the side of their will to do good. It is no longer true of them that their "spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) Their body and its parts are consecrated to serve God and are habituated to be his holy instruments. They instinctively avoid the paths of temptation.
In their relations to others, they are completely transparent. Because they walk in goodness they have no use for darkness, and they achieve real fellowship with others – especially other disciples of Jesus. "If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
The things we have been describing are not things the children of light are constantly trying hard to do, gritting their teeth. Instead, these are features of life that well up in souls that are at home in God.
This is the outcome of spiritual formation in Christ-likeness. Again, it doesn't mean perfection, but it does mean we have here persons whose souls are whole through the internalized integrity of the law of God and the administrations of the gospel and the Spirit. The road to becoming such persons – a children of light – involves abandoning everything to God.
on Sunday, March 22 at 5:49AM