Arise And Shine Sermon

The scripture is a good one. It is a positive one. It is a vision of the future. “Arise and Shine for your light has come,” says Isaiah—even before the people can understand it. You see, Isaiah is writing to the people who had recently returned from exile.

Friend, I see God filling you with uncommon wisdom that will make you shine. As you arise, expect wisdom in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen. The Bible also says in Daniel 12:3 “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Your shinning will cause you. Sermon Title: Arise And Shine Scriptural Reference: Isaiah 60:1-3, Haggai 2:7, Genesis 1:2, Psalm 27:1-2. God will always arise at the end of every calamity. God will always do His best after the devil has done his worst. There are five words (arise, shine, light, glory, darkness) in Isaiah 60:1-3 that will be the subject of our discussion.

The 60th chapter of Isaiah comes from what is known as third Isaiah. Isaiah, it is generally believed, was written over a 200-year span of history by at least three people.
The first 39 chapters were written before the exile and told the people to shape up or they would be shipped out. They didn’t and they spent fifty years in Babylonian captivity.

Arise and shine sermon outline

The next sixteen chapters were written in the exile to give comfort and hope to the people who had lost their land. The suffering servant prophecies, which look so much like Jesus, came from this part of the book.

The third book of Isaiah comes from the time of restoration, when the people returned to the Holy Land only to find it in a shambles and a shell of its former glory. In the last 11 chapters, Isaiah gives hope and encouragement to this remnant people.

Many of us can identify with being a remnant people. Trusted institutions have failed us. For some of us our very families have failed us. For others physical or mental health have taken their toll, leaving us feeling like a remnant of our former selves. Then there is the job market and the looming foreclosures. There is a lot that makes us feel like the remnant.

We are back in the Promised Land, in a New Year, but it still feels like we’re in exile. We are a shadow of our former selves. We don’t know how or if we can go on. We want to turn our head to the wall—oh we’re tempted to do just that. We want it all to go away. We want rest, but we don’t see it in the midst of all of this hardship.

On Friday of last week, I attended the Memorial Service for my good friend Sarah Hammond. She battled the demons of darkness for most of her life. She said the darkness was an unwelcome companion. I can only imagine what she must have felt.

I have felt that looming dread as I reflect on my own sister, who was also feeling at the end of her rope. It turns out that while I was attending the Memorial Service in Oberlin, OH, she was writing the last of her notes that she would send off to her friends and family, telling them that the darkness was too much for her to handle any longer.

As has happened before, good friends intervened and she was not able to conclude her life this past week. She is now in a hospital, trying to figure out the next step—just as I am trying to figure it out.

Sarah’s mother, Mary Hammond, commented that they have asked “why” so many times in the month since Sarah’s death. While those questions are never fully nor satisfactorily answered, the question has shifted from “why” to “now what?”

Now what? We’re not ready to rise and shine. The light doesn’t feel like it has come. It feels like enemies are encamping around us. It feels like despair will have the last word. It feels like nothing we have done has made any difference. It feels like all is lost. So what is the word to share today?

As I looked at Isaiah again, I realized that the vision is about another reality. It’s about the future, but it’s also about the present. It’s about embracing the possibility that you can imagine a different reality.

When we feel like we can’t go on, people come and help us get up and get out of bed. They make us meals. They help us imagine what the future might look like. They don’t tell you, “it’s al right,” when it is decidedly not all right. Instead, they tell you that you don’t face this alone. You don’t have to let the darkness have the last word. Arise and shine is the answer to “what now.” And Isaiah reminds us of the way God wants us to embrace the world.

Arise and shine because people have surrounded you with support.

Arise and shine because you are loved.

Sermon

Arise and shine because God lives in the holy mystery that is our very lives.

Sometimes, often times, we can’t live it out all by ourselves. We can’t see the “what now.” We’re so focused on the “why”. We can’t muster the strength to rise and shine. We need to surround ourselves with a vision, a song that we can hear and imagine and embrace. We need our friends to sing the song until we can remember the words.

Hear this story called “They’re singing your song” by Alan Cohen in his book, “Wisdom of the Heart”

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child.
They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song.
Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
To the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them. The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity.
When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn't. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well.
You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you'll find your way home.

Isaiah’s message is that despair does not have to be the final word. He didn’t have the pharmaceuticals that are often helpful, but he did have a word of encouragement for the people. Isaiah says, “Arise and shine for your light has come, and the glory of God had risen upon you.” Lift up your eyes and look around. A new day has dawned. Arise, shine.

The people of Israel, we can imagine, were in despair. They were back home, but they still wept about how great the temple used to be, how their farms were in shambles, how there was seemingly no hope left at all for them. They moped around and collectively bummed each other out, as hurting people often do.

And then along came Isaiah to compassionately remind them of what they do have.

You don’t have a temple, but look, you are in the holy land once again.

You don’t have your farmhouses, but look, you have brothers and sisters who are willing to stand with you to get the work done.

You may not have wealth, but look, you have God on your side.

Arise Your Light Has Come

And even if you can’t sing your song, I’ll sing it for you until you can mumble the words with me. And one day, you may well sing it for someone who cannot sing it for themselves. That’s what faith looks like. That’s what community looks like. That’s what resurrection looks like. Arise and shine, sing your song, says Isaiah.

Let me close by inviting my dear friend Ken Downes to join me in a song. We sang this at each other’s weddings 18 and 20 years ago. It’s a piece of our songs and it gives me hope.
May the Light of Love—David Roth

As we come around to take our places at the table
A moment to remember and reflect upon our wealth
Here's to loving friends and family, here's to being able
To gather here together in good company and health
May we be released from all those feelings that would harm us
May we have the will to give them up and get them gone
For heavy are the satchels full of anger and false promise
May we have the strength to put them down

Pdf

May the light of love be shining deep within your spirit
May the torch of mercy clear the path and show the way
May the horn of plenty sound so everyone can hear it
May the light of love be with you every day

May we wish the best for every one that we encounter
May we swallow pride and may we do away with fear
For it's only what we do not know that we have grown afraid of
And only what we do not choose to hear


May the light of love be shining deep within your spirit
May the torch of mercy clear the path and show the way
May the horn of plenty sound so everyone can hear it
May the light of love be with you every day

As we bless our daily bread and drink our day's libation
May we be reminded of the lost and wayward soul
The hungry and the homeless that we have in every nation
May we fill each empty cup and bowl
May nothing ever come between or threaten to divide us
May we never take for granted all the gifts that we receive
Being ever mindful of the unseen hands that guide us
And the miracles that cause us to believe

Arise And Shine Bible


May the light of love be shining deep within your spirit
May the torch of mercy clear the path and show the way
May the horn of plenty sound so everyone can hear it
May the light of love be with you,
May the light of love be with you
May the light of love be with you every day.

Audio Sermon

Arise And Shine
by Jon Beckham

'Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising' (Isaiah 60:1-3)

A couple of weeks ago I noticed something strange in my account. It had money in it! But it was NOT there in my account because it was saved out of income! I had purchased a couch a few months before and I expected the charge to follow soon after. But no charge came. Week after week I checked my account, and the money was still sitting there and it was never collected by the company. For two months I hesitated about what I should do. I even reasoned with myself that the charge had gone through and I must have missed it. But in my heart I knew it wasn’t so. The fact was that the furniture store had never charged me for the new couch they had delivered two months ago. I don’t want to tell you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that I sat there with no temptation in my heart because I actually was weak from the temptation that filled me. I felt the weight of it on my shoulders. I thought of all of the things I could do with that money. I pictured myself on vacation or paying off some old debt. I even reasoned that keeping the money would be okay if I donated a portion of it to my church or a charity.

As I fought the temptation, I realized I was losing the battle. It was clear to me that after two months of not billing me, the owner of the furniture store was not going to charge me and was unaware that I had a free couch at his expense.

I think sometimes it’s like we find ourselves available to two different teams with two different objectives. I played a lot of sports growing up and have watched a lot of sports since that time. In any sport, like soccer, where you pass the ball back-and-forth among players, the other team will pressure you with sometimes two or three opposing players to take the ball by pressing you into a mistake. In life you can find yourself surrounded by the other team. The pressure becomes intense as you find the other team is defending you capably and you are trapped. You become desperate as you realize you’re only moments from losing the ball to the other team. Your once excellent concentration has been broken and you are forced to make a decision, but you can’t see clearly. You can’t find an open member of your team. All you can see are opposing players all around you, ready to take the ball away. You feel the weight of the opposition coming down on you and you start to doubt yourself as you realize this decision might be critical and contribute to the other team winning the game if you lose the ball.

However, your teammates see you more clearly than you see yourself, your coach sees you from outside of the field altogether and they realize the pressure you are experiencing is overwhelming. Your team and coach are ready and willing to help you because like you, they want to win the game. They see the field clearly, they know you are seeking answers and your trouble is clear to them. Your moment of pressure has clearly become too much and your teammates desperately run to your aid. But the pressure has been too great for you mentally and you can’t see the players on your team who are rushing to help you. All you can see are wrong answers and you are running out of time.

At a final desperate moment when all seems lost and you begin to accept that you will lose the ball in this critical moment, you hear your coach cry out, “Behind you!” and you blindly obey by kicking the ball backwards, as you recognize that a teammate not in your field of vision is right in back of you coming to aid in this time of trouble and help you keep the ball in play. As you blindly obey your coach, the pressure is relieved since the ball has been passed to someone else. As the opposing players move away, you look up and realize that passing the ball was a good decision. You would not have been able to make this decision on your own because you were so bound up in the pressures of the situation that you could not see the solution. You look back and understand that in life, as in sports, the wisdom of another who has no motives other than to help you see clearly is of paramount importance to us all.

I still try to play sports when I can, but find myself more-and-more a member of God’s team. Five years ago, I would have considered myself lucky to have a free couch at no expense. Today, I find myself calling the furniture store owner and letting him know he forgot to charge me. But a very real personal battle took place, I felt incredible temptation, but I felt God calling to me from the sidelines. I was also able to plant a good seed into the heart of that store owner. The furniture store owner was so amazed he felt compelled to give me a discount. I didn’t want him to do that, either. I was sure in these harsh economic times he was not making much money from the couch anyway. So I told him our prior deal was fair and he didn’t need to discount the price. I found myself telling the furniture store owner that as a man I almost failed; the Lord put it on my heart to call him and give him what was rightfully his.

Although I made the right decision, the pressure was on my shoulders, until my great Friend called out to me from the sidelines of life and said that keeping the couch and the money is simply “stealing.” Because of His Voice in my heart, I saw that I had almost done wrong. But my temptation was turned into something good. The furniture store owner told me he couldn’t believe someone would actually do that in this day and age. But I think I did something all Christians should do and that is “love thy neighbor” and “do not steal from thy neighbor.” Although the furniture store owner does not live next to me; I consider him my neighbor which I am beginning to understand about everyone I come in contact with.

I don’t think I did anything special and I think such deeds should not always be shared with others, but it’s a reminder that God knows our deeds and what is on our heart. I want to challenge you to not hide your “light.” Don’t be afraid to give to your teammates, your brothers and sisters, your neighbors, what is rightfully theirs to begin with. Don’t be afraid to return another person’s wallet and openly say you returned the wallet because you love God more than money and you want them to know that God loves them too.

Be observant to what is happening around you. Be aware of pressures of temptation and take that temptation as an opportunity to listen prayerfully to God and show that your love for Him is greater than your love for the things of this world! “Arise and Shine” and let the “Light” that comes from God shine on you. Listen to His call and follow the Lord. He not only said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), but He also said “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), through trusting in Him.

Father, life is full of temptation and trouble, but You are the great Coach who leads me and shows me what I should do. I am learning to hear Your voice and to trust in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sermon by Jon Beckham. Voice by Pastor Ron Beckham of Friday Study Ministries

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'While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us' (Romans 5:8)
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