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Light In A Dark Place

On January 6th the Epiphany season begins. The word epiphany means manifestation. With the coming of the Magi Christ was manifest or revealed to the world. The light of God in the person of Jesus Christ came to penetrate the darkness of this present age.

One day St. Paul found himself in a very dark place. We read of his experience in the Acts of the Apostles:
And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison,
charging the jailor to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them
into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul
and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening
to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the
prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s
fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were
open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners
had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are
all here.” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell
down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do
to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,
you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all
that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed
their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought
them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his
household that he had believed in God. (Acts 16:23-34)

For their witness for Jesus Christ and the gospel Paul and his companion Silas were thrown into prison. They were not merely placed in a cell, but cast into “the inner prison.” In that deep dark underground cell they were confined and shakled.

How did they react to that dark and dismal situation? They were in the dark, but they were not in the darkness. At midnight they sang and rejoiced, because they had the light of Christ within their hearts. Paul and Silas accepted their situation as God’s providence and as an opportunity for witness.

A discouraged or depressed Christian has no positive witness for Christ. A consistent Christian life on the other hand is a most powerful witness. The non-Christian world is watching, especially when things are going badly for the Christian. Such times may be the best times for evangelistic witness. The world wants to know if what we profess with our lips is genuine in our lives. If our faith is real, and times of stress will reveal this, they will be attracted.

Note the contrast between Paul and Silas and the jailor. When all the prison doors were jarred open by an earthquake the jailor was ready to kill himself in utter despair. The jailor was the one who was really in the dark, a spiritual darkness of mind and soul. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to awaken a sinner to his need of salvation.

The light of the gospel of Christ flooded into the prison that night and the jailor cried out, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” The answer was quite simple, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved....” At that moment the light of the gospel completely transformed the jailor’s life, as well as his family.

Jesus was sent by the Father to be light in a dark world. A world inhabited by men and women like the jailor at Philippi. We who know the light of Christ are to carry that light into the dark places to help rescue lost souls and bring them to the eternal light of God. Such is the spirit of Epiphany.

by F. M. Levi

Parish News
The annual feast of St. Andrew was celebrated by a pot-luck dinner and service on Nov. 30, 1999. The offering went to World Relief to help feed the world’s needy. Thank you to all who attended and contributed.

Thank you to all who brought in non-perishable food during Advent for our annual contribution to the Tinley Park food Pantry.

Congratulations to Mark Levi and Sara Olsen who were united in marriage on Nov. 27, 1999. We wish for you all God’s blessings.

Birth Announcement
Congratulations to Mike & Krista Acke at the birth of their daughter Jessica 6lbs. 3oz who was born on December 9, 1999. Also on December 10, 1999, congratulations to Carol and Paul Cowger at the birth of their son Adam, 7lbs. 8oz.. Congratulations to grandpa Mike.

Happy Birthday!
Jan. 6 - Elaine Spencer
Jan. 8 - Shirley Drobnak
Jan. 11 - Laura Sutton
Jan. 11 - Henry Leenstra
Jan. 15 - Linda Zaleski
Jan. 18 - Janet Toomey
Jan. 18 - Caroline Robertson
Jan. 26 - David Sutton
Jan. 27 - Paul Christenson
Jan. 28 - Philip Smith

Missionary of The Month

Domestic Missions
Please pray for Bishop and Mrs. Fincke (Ann), and their children Katie, Emily, Elizabeth, and Andrew, and our brethren. All Saints Reformed Episcopal Mission in Vacaville, CA.

Epiphany - January 6, 2000

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