Salvation Shall Reach the Ends of the Earth

Week of January 15, 2017

The prophet Isaiah invites us to see the expansive glory of God.  The prophet tells his people of becoming the light to the nations and the gift of salvation is to reach the ends of the earth.  In that day, the prophet did not even know where it was that the end of the earth could be found.  In our time, the world has gotten smaller with media, world news outlets and global markets.  In Isaiah’s day, it would take a lifetime to travel to the Nile River and beyond.  It took the settlers of this country a lifetime to head west.  At times in my life when I have flown to one of the coasts for a workshop or vacation, I have often pondered about living in this era, in this generation with this technology.  The ability to hop on a flight, and get to the west coast on the same day amazed me.  I still get overwhelmed sometimes when I reminisce about the time I flew to Tokyo to run a marathon and was only gone 4 days.  In our lifetime we have walked on the moon and have witnessed space shuttles remove the earth’s pull for a length of time at the space station.  We truly live in a great era.  Left behind are the days of covered wagons and steam engines just following a track.

But with this ability comes responsibility.  With the knowledge of instant news, information and the ability to send tweets or snap chat there is an accountability.  The message sent out may only become reactionary.  The responsibility to become the light to the nations, the responsibility to bring the news of salvation to others becomes more difficult.  You may have heard of false news stories going viral and being produced as if they are true.  This confusion makes the world untrusting.  So how do we become the light to the nations?  The Gospel today poses a great place to start.  John the Baptist becomes very vulnerable.  He states that he was led by the Spirit to look for the one on whom the Spirit will come down upon like a dove and remain.  This is what he was to see.  When he saw it, he would know that this one was the Son of God.  So John stays true to that for which he is looking.  Secondly, when he finds it, sees it and experiences it, he testifies to the truth of what he saw.  Life begins with the Holy Spirit doing the directing.  We will become the light to the nations and bring the Good News to them when we are led by the Spirit.  Then what we are to share is the testimony of what we saw and experienced.  It is everything the Lord shared with us.

In our time, we are invited to look for the things God asked us to see. We are to testify to what we witness.  What did God ask of us?  He asked us to love one another.  Acts of mercy and kindness are where we can raise a moment and its light has the ability to transform the household or workplace.  I remember a day when my sister slammed the door of her room so hard I thought the bolts would fall off.  She was in an argument with my parents about something.  I can remember the tenderness of my mom speaking to her from the hall and finally receiving the permission to enter.  When my mom showed us her care, we knew that the same would be extended to us when we were in difficulty.  I can remember one of my parents always waiting up for us when we were out.  That contact meant the world.  They could tell if something was wrong.  They could walk us through it in conversation right then and there.  Following the Holy Spirit is seeing the holiness of the moment and lifting up others so that they may be the light.

Salvation will go to each and every part of the earth.  It will happen when we follow the Spirit, go to where we are asked, see what we are to see and lift up others so they may have a better view.

Reverend John J. Ouper