St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525


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Called Out of the Shadows
Easter's Fifth Week (May 22, 2011)

Each February, the nation observes a ritual around a ground hog and his shadow. Then he and all of us with him retreat back into the shadows of winter. Now that spring is blooming, have we come out of the shadows?

Peter reminds us that God has called us out of the shadows into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). A timid creature may fear his own shadow because he doesn’t understand the darkness that appears to be following him. We know, however, that shadows are powerless images. They appear when we stand in the light.

What shadows are provoking fears for you? Remember shadows are just an outline of what is in the way of your light. The Bible describes shadows cast by the frustration of labor (Job 7:1-3), busyness and vanity (Ecclesiastes 6:11-12), entanglement with sin (Isaiah 59:9), the encroachment of enemies (Psalm 11:2) and the ultimate obstruction between God and us, the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).

Like our friend the ground hog, many of our daily encounters with shadows are exaggerated images of us. They are distortions of our problems and our inadequacy to deal with them. Looking at the shadow only magnifies the problem. But where there is a shadow, there is light shining upon us from the opposite direction. When shadows creep up, we can retreat into the darkness of our hole like the ground hog or we can turn into the light.

Nice illustration, but how do we really turn into the light? It’s not easy. We know more than a ground hog, but we too live in shadows of spiritual ignorance. Jesus anticipated our struggle. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he said, “trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1). When shadows frighten me, I have to say his words over and over again to myself. In my ignorance, I can’t see where the light is coming from, but I know he is my light source. His word leads me to the light.

God is calling us out of the shadows into his light. In Greek the word for “church” means “those who are called out.” We are his “church” because we have been called out of our shadows to meet Jesus in the light. To experience the support of a church is to be brought together into the “royal priesthood” Peter describes walking into his marvelous light. We are that royal priesthood to one another! In this priesthood we are, over and over again, reciting, praying, forgiving, caring, building up, encouraging and serving one another with Jesus’ words of life.

There is one shadow in the Bible that is cast with peace rather than fear. God repeats himself several times calling us out to retreat into “the shadow of his wings” (Psalms 17, 36, 57 & 63 and Isaiah 34:15). When God gathers us together in community as a church he is extending those wings over us. As we reflect on the shadows provoking fear in our lives, may we as a church family reach out to one another, calling one another to huddle under that canopy of God’s peace. As spring and summer time draw us out and about, don’t let the seasons give us a false sense of independence. Where there is sunshine and many opportunities—good though they may be—the shadows appear also. We need one another to stay centered in the light. Our church family is called to be that retreat center in the shadow of his wings.

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.”

(1 Peter 2:9)



(c)2011 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

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