And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
When I was a young man I thought I’d live forever. Oh, I knew that I’d die one day, but those thoughts were so far from everyday life, I acted as though I would not die. So much so, I did some pretty stupid things back then that today would never be anything I’d dare do. And as I grow older, hopefully wiser too, I am becoming more and more aware of how short life is and how quickly these few years the good Lord has given me pass.
In his letter to the Church in Rome, St. Paul is attempting to create some urgency in the believers. He is telling them to wake up! That their salvation was nearer now than when they first believed. Of course that’s true, but why do you suppose St. Paul wrote these words. Maybe the Christians in Rome were like me when I was younger. Maybe they didn’t believe they were going to die. It seems that they were in some sort of darkness and that St. Paul wanted them to shed the darkness and put on the armor of light.
Hmmmm, “armor of light.” What could that be? It’s an interesting mix of words, isn’t it? “Armor” and “light.” I think what is being taught here is that when you and I are in darkness, we are most vulnerable to an attack from the Prince of Darkness. Quite frankly, I think it’s what he waits for…for us to fall into some sort of sin so that he can attack us when we are in this state of vulnerability. When we shed our sinful behavior, when we shed the darkness and put on the light it is as if we are putting on an armor that protects us from future attacks of darkness. Are you with me? OK. So how do we “put on the light?” What is the “light?”
Putting on the light means to REPENT. To turn away from our sin and when we do, we are able to reunite with the Light, Jesus Christ. This reunion with God is powerful and there is no darkness that can overcome us when we do.
So what’s the urgency in repenting now? Why can’t I wait until I’m old….maybe as old as Bishop Ed? Well, because we never know when our time is up. We never know when God will call us home. Also, living in the light is so much better for us, not only spiritually, but emotionally and physically. God doesn’t want us to live in sin because it’s not the best thing for us. Living in the light, united with God is how we function best. Part of Advent is about getting ready for Christ’s return. May I ask you a question? Are you ready? Are you walking in the Light or in the dark?
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