“Speak to the Congregation and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your GOD am holy.” Lev 19:2a
As Fall is quickly turning to Winter and the light of each day is shortening, I want to share with you a conversation I had with pastors I meet with weekly to discuss our scripture lessons for Sunday. We were studying the text above which is part of the scriptural foundation Jesus uses to give us the greatest commandment, “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) As we were discussing these scriptures the conversation led to the question, “What would it be like if God was physically present, walking beside us each day?” What choices would we make in our lives knowing that God was right there walking with us? Would we choose differently than we do?
Dietrich Bonheoffer, the German theologian and pastor who struggled against the evils of Hitler’s Nazi regime, once wrote a letter to his fiancée in Aug, 1943 that went like this:
“Today is a gloomy, rainy day quite suitable to my futile wait for clarification and enlightenment. But let us not forget for a moment how much we have to be thankful for and how much goodness we still experience; I need but think of you, and even the tiniest bit of gloom in my soul again becomes light.”
Isn’t it wonderful how we can become light to and for one another in our darkest times? It is like God is right there walking with us in our family or friends. Bonheoffer goes on to say this about God in his book “Wondrously Sheltered”:
In me it is dark, but in you there is light. I am lonely, but you do not leave me.
I am fainthearted, but with you there is help. I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience.
I do not understand your ways, but you know the right way for me.”
Bonheoffer had a wonderful sense of God walking with him in everyday life. I can only imagine and believe that it was this sense of God’s presence each day that helped him stand up against both the evils of his day as well as the simple challenges of daily life.
So I want to leave you with this as it is getting darker outside in our world… and maybe for some inside as well. God does indeed walk with us, shedding light in our darkness, giving us strength, and standing beside us like a best friend who is always there. It is this presence that comforts us during life’s darkest moments, and it is this presence that challenges each of us to be holy like God is holy, so that when we walk our life’s journeys, making choices, we too can become the light in someone else’s darkness and God’s presence is truly felt.
Christ is with you! Pastor Dan