Tuesday, April 2

That Clear and Serene Light

Today's devotion is from an early sixteenth century classic called True Christianity (Wahres Christentum) by the German Lutheran theologian Johann Arndt:

When people yield to the suggestions and exhortations of divine grace, and, proving obedient to the Word, begin to withdraw from their vicious lives, then the grace of God endows them with all those virtues which the Gospel requires. It is then that faith springs up in the soul, the original principle of all other virtues. This is followed by love, and all Christian graces, which grow as so many fruits on the tree of faith. It is then, also, that light begins to shine in the midst of darkness. But as it is impossible that darkness should be able to enlighten itself; so it is also impossible for fallen humans to raise themselves from darkness to light. Hence the Psalmist says,

For you will light my lamp. The Lord, my God, will light up my darkness. 
Ps. 18:28

No matter how wide people might open their eyes, they will never be enlightened while the light of the sun is withdrawn from their sight. Thus the grace of God, that is, of Christ himself, is that clear and serene light, risen on all “who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” [Luke 1:79]. “He enlightens everyone that comes into the world” [John 1:9]: that is, he manifests himself to all, and offers his grace to all. He is the light of the whole world; he shows the way of life to all people; and leaving us his own example for imitation, he goes before us like a good shepherd [John 10:4], and guides his flock into the path in which they are to walk. He sought us out as his lost sheep, and even now daily seeks and allures us [Luke 15:4]. Nay, more; he still follows us closely, calls after us, and woos us to his love, in as endearing a manner as a bridegroom does his bride. O that we did not love sin and darkness rather than light and grace!
—Johann Arndt (1610)
   Open mine eyes, O Lord, open mine eyes;
   into my darkened heart let thy light arise.
   Show me myself, O Lord, show me thyself, O Lord,
   show me thy truth, O Lord, open mine eyes!

—Clarence A. Johnson (1916)
And now I pray as you taught me: Our Father...   

No comments:

Post a Comment