Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sermon: Seek the Light

“That which is of God is light, and he that receiveth light, and coninueth in God, receiveth more light, and that light growth brighter until the perfect day”

D&C 50:24

Light is good, proclaimed the Lord at the creation of the earth. Darkness and evil flee before it, and beauty and goodness are made visible by light. What a marvellous thing is light! We find joy in the light that allows us to see the green grass, the smile of a baby, and the glory of the sunrise and the world around us. We can also rejoice in the light, as did our first parents, Adam and Eve when they received of the spiritual light as gospel truths are made known un to us. This kind of light can help us appreciate goodness, truth, love, happiness and health. As we continue to seek the light it will bring us closer to the Lord Jesus, for when we strengthen  our characters when we consciously choose good, rejecting that which leads to darkness or an absence of the Lord Gods Light.

The contrast between light and darkness, often portrayed as a contrast between good and evil, has been frequently illustrated by artists throughout the history of the world. One of the most effective artistic media for using the beauty of light is the stained glass window. These artistic creations rose to great popularity and artistic quality, in religious subject matter, throughout Europe an England in the eleventh century. Between A.D 1150 and A.D 1500 almost a thousand great Gothic cathedrals and churches were built in Europe and Great Britain, many of these contained exquisitely beautifully designed stained glass windows.

As you might imagine stepping in to one of these magnificent Gothic cathedrals was like going from one world in to the other which was exactly the feeling the builders wanted to portray. Once inside, a person found himself in an atmosphere of majestic height and glorious light caused by the effects of the coloured light from the stained glass windows. This effect was carefully planed by the artist and glazers of that area. Although we see the colours of a painting or tapestry by the light reflected on the surface, we see stained glass only when light comes through it. During the day, the window comes alive, at night it dies away. As the sun moves through the sky, the light intensity in the cathedral varies, passing clouds and tree shadows cause the windows to pulsate with moving light. The glass itself with its bubbles, impurities, and uneven thickness, catches the light and changes it like facets of a diamond. These windows emphasise the brightness of Christ’s countenance to help us understand that he is the source of goodness, safety and light for his flock, no matter the size. We see look upon the light that shines forth from the windows as the light of Christ shinning down upon us and filling us with the sure knowledge that he is our master and we are his sheep and that he is the shepherd carefully leading his sheep, reminding us that he is the only true shepherd and that he loves us tenderly and completely. Let us remember what the Master says in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”.

In our minds we can contrast the picture of the stained glass window and its light flooding in with the alarming experience of the young fourteen year old Joseph Smith when he entered the grove to offer up his supplications unto the Lord. The power of the evil one sought to destroy him as the thick darkness gathered around the young boy. Nevertheless, after calling upon God with his might and mind to be delivered from the enemy which held him bound, the young Joseph was indeed delivered by the greater power of the Lord. As the glorious light of the presence of the Lord God appeared, the prince of darkness returned to his benighted realms, for he cannot endure the presence of beings of light for long. John reminds us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)

Let us be clear and be assured that the light of our father God and his Son will triumph over the darkness of the devil. The Lord Saviour, he who is the light of our world, will return to the earth and a millennial era of peace and light will arrive with him. However for us the crucial question pertains to our individual lives now. Are we now choosing light over darkness? Are we choosing the light of God by our daily choices of good? Let us remember the words of Alma who taught that “whatsoever is light is good, because it is discernable, therefore ye must know that it is good” (Alma). If we trust in the Lord God and follow the gospel light, he will lead us to do good. Our lives as Latter Day Mormons can be windows though which others can see the light of God. Let us remember that the Lord has counselled us today to be a light unto the entire world and to let our light be a standard to all nations.

The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is that standard and we are its light bearers, let us not shrink in the face of adversity, but rather let us go forward with the light of Christ as our banner and let us bring light unto the darkness wherever it me be found.

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