In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul stresses that
Christ’s death and resurrection have opened the way for
Gentiles to draw near to God because the “dividing wall” (see
Ephesians 2:14) has been broken down. The last three chapters
give instruction on how to live as followers of this inclusive,
welcoming Christ. Paul uses contrasting dualisms to point out
the different ways to live: light and darkness, good and bad,
pleasing and unpleasing to God.

Live as children of light. Be children growing up under the
loving care and wise guidance of the faith community. Be like
children—curious, joyful, energetic, and rejoicing in what is
good and right and true. Discover what pleases God. Let your
actions reflect God’s grace and love.

Several years ago, a freak Halloween snowstorm knocked
out the power in New England homes for many days. My family
learned how difficult it was to live in the dark. We were cautious
and hesitant in the dark, frustrated and short-tempered.
Our productivity declined because of the darkness: All our cell
phones, laptops, and everything else that ran on electricity ran
out of power. We valued open restaurants only if they had a
place to plug in so we could check in. We gained a new appreciation
for living in light.

It may not be too far a stretch to think that naming and
opposing the darkness of evil, injustice, and oppression will
be pleasing to God. Shining a light to expose the darkness of
poverty, war, and racism surely pleases God. Children of the
light—the opposite of self-pleasing, self-centered people of
darkness—seek to bring all individuals and systems into the
beloved community of God.

God of truth, awaken me to your love and light, within me and around me. Teach me to walk paths of justice, care for the least and lost, and stand up for what is right. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 9:1-41

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Lectionary Week
March 20–26, 2017
Scripture Overview

First Samuel 16 reminds us of the bold risk that Yahweh took in the anointing of this young and unheralded shepherd. If 1 Samuel 16 causes us to wonder about the adequacy of all human shepherds, Psalm 23 reassures us that one Shepherd never fails. The New Testament passages consider the tension between light and darkness as a metaphor for the conflict between good and evil. In Ephesians 5, the struggle has already been resolved but takes seriously the continuing problem of sin. By means of the love and presence of Jesus Christ, even the power of evil cannot withstand the light. Then John 9 emphasizes the power of Christ as a bringer of light in the story of the man born blind.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. How often do you allow external appearances to affect your decisions? In what ways are you learning to look on the heart?
• Read Psalm 23. When do you take time for yourself by slowing your pace, breathing deeply, and allowing God to restore your soul? How might this become a daily habit?
• Read Ephesians 5:8-14. How do you discover what pleases God? How does your living reflect your discovery?
• Read John 9:1-41. When have you experienced a “healing” that brought you back into community—either at home, work, or faith setting?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”


Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.