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March 2021

Transforming Light; Light of the World

Is the light transforming us? Maybe, a better question is: Are we controlling the light or the light controlling us? Whenever we think of “light,” our tendency is to think of smaller lights, such as a flashlight, a torch, a candle, or sources of light that we can manipulate. For most of us, we forget about the “greater lights” or sources of light that give life, such as the sun, the moon, and other heavenly objects. And these are the lights that we cannot control. Isaiah reminds us that the Servant of the Lord is the Light of the world, the source of salvation for everyone. (See, Isaiah 49:1-7) He mentions a prophecy in verse 6: “I will also make you a light for the gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6) The Light of the world is not just for a particular group, but for everyone. We often forget this “missional truth” and have a propensity to limit or control the light in Jesus.

Robert Mulholland reminds us that God is over all things, and we need to be always alone with God in solitude so that we will remember that He is in control. He states: “Solitude is simply being alone with God. In the classical Christian spiritual tradition, solitude is, in the silence of release, the beginning to face the deep inner dynamics of our being that make us that grasping, controlling, manipulative person; beginning to face our brokenness, our distortion, our darkness; and the beginning to offer ourselves to God at those points. Solitude is not simply drawing away from others and being alone with God. This is part of solitude. But more than this, it is being who we are with God and acknowledging who we are to ourselves and to God.” (Invitation To A Journey: A Road Map For Spiritual Formation. 1993:138).

Come to the “Light of the World,” our Lord Jesus, this Holy Week, and receive his life. (John 1:4) Give Jesus the space in your life so that His light will transform you into His image. In the language of the Apostle Paul, we are to have the same attitude which was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5). Henri Nouwen suggests that “We have to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw everyday, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others. But with such a spiritual abode, we will become increasingly conformed to him in whose Name we minister.” (The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. 1981:30-31)

Is the Light of the world bringing transformation in your life today?

Each Step to Glory Land

1989, I volunteered in leading the church choir my Mom was helping. She insisted that we all learn this hymn, "Each Step I Take." It was a new song for me then, as well as to my mother. But she persevered in learning the song and teaching it to the choir members. I did my best in helping her. Little did I know that this hymn would be her "battle song" as she marched on to the setting sun, forward to glory, into the arms of Jesus. She passed away on March 14, 1990. So, now, each time I sing this hymn, I am reminded of my mother and her passion for God's work here on earth. "Each step I take just leads me closer home." This is her song.

Each step I take my Saviour goes before me, // And with His loving hand He leads the way, // And with each breath I whisper "I adore Thee;" // Oh, what joy to walk with Him each day. 

Each step I take I know that He will guide me; // To higher ground He ever leads me on. // Until some day the last step will be taken. // Each step I take just leads me closer home.

At times I feel my faith begin to waver, // When up ahead I see a chasm wide. // It's then I turn and look up to my Saviour, // I am strong when He is by my side.

I trust in God, no matter come what may, // For life eternal in His hand, // He holds the key that opens up the way, // That will lead me to the promised land.

(Slim Whitman)

Remembering My Mother: Corazon M. Clemente

March 11, 1990 is the day my mother collapsed during a church board meeting while the members were all praying. She suffered an aneurysm and three days later passed on to be with Jesus. So, every year, these few days of March, my thoughts are with my mother. She is probably watching us playing with our children or listening to us playing my guitar and singing along.

Our lectionary New Testament reading for this coming Sunday is in Ephesians chapter 2. Says here: “God made us alive together with Christ. Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” (Ephesians 2:4-6. ESV, MSG.) Because of our life together with Christ, I can join in and sing with my mother in heaven, and with the angels in their glory. You can also sing along with us. 

“To God all glory, praise, and love / / be now and ever given. / / by saints below and saints above, / / the Church in earth and heaven.”  (Charles Wesley. 1739)

Feel free to read some more about my mother in my short tribute of her. Please follow this link. You are most welcome to share your comments.

Invite The Light

But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God. (John 3:21. GNB)

What would happen if we all come to the light? Everyone will be exposed. Everyone including ourselves. That is scary, right? All of us will see our very own motives for doing things, our personal assumptions about the truth, our individual dreams of what is to come, and many other revelations that we would prefer to be hidden. The good news is that this Light gives life. (See John 1:4-5) Jesus is the Light. He will expose us, but He will also give life. This reality in itself, once accepted and practiced in our daily life, will transform us, everyone of us. So, go ahead and invite the Light to shine in your darkness, as John describes it for us in John 1:5. If you say you do not have darkness, then John says you deceive yourself, according to John’s letter in 1 John 1:8. Let us walk in the Light and be transformed. Let us receive the Light, trusting that he will expose us and give us life. “Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.”