8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
If you have time, open up your bible and read the verses before and after this in Ephesians 5. They bring great hope and blessing to us today.
These words before us speak of the great change that Christ has wrought in our lives. We were darkness and now we are light. Notice, it is not that we are “in” darkness and light, but we “were” darkness and “are” light. We are urged then to walk (live!) as children of light. That path can be difficult and sometimes hard to see. Our enemy is a masterful liar who often casts something evil as something good and vice versa. We must do some discerning about what is pleasing to the Lord. This is not easy, and it takes faith. Paul quotes someone at the end of our reading. We have no idea who it is, but this quote is vitally important to this passage. It is not an Old Testament quotation, Paul’s usual but not only source for a quote. We think it might be a song which the people of Paul’s day were singing about Jesus. He shines on us and that is what makes us the light. The sleeper awakes. We rise from the death of our sins. But we are not shining with our own light. It is Christ who shines on us and illumines our lives. Look in the mirror, but don’t expect the light to come from inside that person. Expect, instead, that Christ is shining on you. Luther exhorts us daily to rise from the waters of our remembered baptism in which we have drown the old man and risen to a newness of life. You shine with the light of Christ.