Der Vasken’s Sermon on June 23, 2024

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I read a story not too long ago of a remarkable young woman who redefined what it means to live with a disability or in her case, multiple disabilities. Her name is Rebecca Alexander. When she was twelve years old, her doctor told her that she had an illness called “Usher Syndrome” which would eventually affect her hearing and vision. This illness is the leading cause of deaf-blindness around the world. Rebecca’s illness has caught up to her. In her book, Rebecca says she sees only what is right in front of her. Listen to her words. “So a normally-sighted person sees 180 degrees. I see just 10. I walk down the street and have no idea that someone is walking along next to me,” she says. Rebecca has a remarkably positive attitude in dealing with her life-altering illness and shares the following. “We have all these reminders in life that we are not good enough, not smart enough, and not pretty enough or thin enough or we don’t have the best job or what it is instead of focusing on all the things that we do have and are capable of. It feels so much better to focus on the things that we can do. Why do we spend so much time focusing on things we can’t?”

Rebecca made a career dedicated to helping people. She became s psychotherapist because she feels helping others is so important. She is an uplifting person who has done so much in the face of difficulty. Rebecca has found the way to spread light in a world that for her is becoming increasingly dark.

I found her story to be appropriate to share this morning because it describes the importance of light and darkness in our world and in our lives. Read between the lines and what she is saying is that:

• We can always focus on the light no matter what life throws to us.
• We can be the ones who bring God’s Light into a world that sees too much darkness.

Darkness cannot overcome light when people like Rebecca are in it. Darkness cannot overcome light when we do what people like Rebecca do every day by shining the Light of God into it. In other words, God created you and me to produce light in a dark world.

We see many examples of people lighting up the world wherever they go. These are people who shine the Light of God by what they do. These people spread the Light of God in their homes and schools and in hospitals and nursing homes every day. These people shine the Light of God and heal and help and serve where service is needed.

In our homes and communities, there are people like this. In our church, there are people like this. When we answer our phones and hear the voice of a friend or relative calling just to check in with us, we see the Light of God. Every time we hear an ambulance rush down the streets of our towns and neighborhoods, we see the Light of God being put into action by people who care. Jesus Christ said that His followers will be known by the Light within them and how they spread that Light into the world around them.

So, think about your life today. Do you allow the Light within you to shine for others to see? Will you pray for those who are trying to spread God’s Light? Something for all of us to think about. “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine so that others may know the God of Heaven,” said Jesus Christ.

Do you allow the Light within you to shine for others to see? Will you pray for those who try to spread God’s Light? May we all find ways to spread His Light this week.

Amen.

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