Does last Sunday’s beginning of Daylight Saving Time already seem like a distant memory to you, or does it bring back all kinds of frustrating reminders of how tired you were and how unwilling you were when the alarm clock said, “Wake up!” I myself had a bit more frustrating experience than normal last Sunday morning, because while I was still fast asleep there was this blare of a beeping sound I had never heard before, which for a minute or two I thought would just fade away and could be ignored, until I wondered if it might be a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, so I stumbled out of bed only to find that the alarm clock on the bathroom counter, which I did not even know until that moment was an alarm clock, for some reason was beeping for all the world to hear – and telling me that it was 2:32 in the morning. I still haven’t come to a conclusion as to why that alarm was ringing at 2:32 in the morning, but what I do know is that that alarm clock was basically saying, “No matter what time it is, it’s time to wake up.” And so I was pretty much awake – and I would have been awake under those circumstances, daylight saving time or not.
It doesn’t matter what time it is in your life or mine, either, when it comes to God’s 2:32 am wake-up call. No matter whether right now you are young or old or any of the years inbetween, no matter whether right now you feel physically healthy and emotionally secure or physically failing or emotionally fragile, the last verse of our lesson still says to you, as it says to all of us this morning, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Before we talk about Christ shining on us and then us reflecting that light in a wonderful way as God’s children, let’s reflect for a bit as to why it is so important in connection with God’s spiritual daylight saving time to know why we need God’s wake-up call every day of our life.
Verse 11 in the middle of that opening paragraph helps us do this kind of reflective soul-searching: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret” – in darkness. Do you ever find yourself hoping that no one in the world will know what you are doing or thinking at a certain moment – that maybe you can keep it a secret, that you can keep it hidden in the darkness of your soul? God says, “Wake up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead.” Because God loves us so much, he doesn’t want us to think that our sins against God – or the sins of others against God – will just fade away and therefore can be ignored. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to think that some things really aren’t so bad, whether it’s the big things like living together as if married when not married, or aborting babies, or engaging in homosexuality, or abusing alcohol or drugs – or whether it’s the so-called little things to our way of thinking at times like being jealous or covetous or greedy, or hating or lusting or cheating, or telling dirty jokes or viewing what is obscene or using language that at one time was even referred to as being from the gutter.
Right before the words of our lesson the apostle Paul had just given this wake-up warning about sins big and small: “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of… God.” Whatever things that we may think are so helpful for us or so fun for us or can be excused for us that God says are not good for us truly are, as St. Paul describes them, “fruitless deeds of darkness.” Like a big bunch of grapes or bananas or a bushel of apples that looks so good when we buy them until we see all the rot beneath them, so is the fruitlessness of looking for love or fun or excuses or a way to calm our nerves in all the wrong places. For you – for me — because today is God’s Daylight Saving time, God says, “Wake up!”
And how great it is to know that when God in his love tells us to wake up, he also tells us in his love, “It’s morning!” St. Paul says, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” It is very possible that when you woke up last Sunday morning, it was still dark, and perhaps remained dark for quite a while. And we have to admit that as we seek to follow Christ and live for Christ, it can seem pretty dark, too, because, as we have said, we know how we need to wake up and get out of the darkness. But that’s the thing. God doesn’t leave us in the dark. He left his Son in the dark, instead. He left his Son in the dark by sending him to hang on the cross during those hours of darkness, forsaken by his heavenly Father so that he could endure the very pains of darkest hell that should have been felt by us, but for Jesus’ sake will not be.
It’s like Jesus was saying to his heavenly Father, “I’ll wake up for them. I’ll beat the devil’s temptations every time for them, and I’ll die the sinner’s death a once and for all time for them. And then my face of love will shine upon them when I tell them, “I have done this for you. I love you, and I always will love you, and I want you to know that I didn’t just die the darkness of death for you, but I also woke up from death to prove to you that I truly am the light of the world and that whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” With Jesus Christ as our Savior, it’s morning – it’s a beautiful morning – it’s a glorious, bright, wonderful morning every day of our life, because it’s one more day to think about how we never have to be afraid of the dark – whether it’s the dark of Satan trying to keep us in the darkness of the sins we commit by saying we don’t stand a chance to be loved by God or forgiven by him, or whether it’s the dark of hard times, the dark of sad times, the dark of times which seem to empty our lives of every ounce of joy that we have – those times when Satan tries to get us to think God must have failed us or that God cannot possibly have enough time for us or that God maybe really can’t fulfill what he has promised us. God says to you – and he says to me – It’s morning! Christ will shine on you this day because he is shining on you right now, because Christ’s love never stops, no matter how dark it may seem, no matter how dark you may feel.
So, brothers and sisters, have a great day! Because of you who are, be who you are. The opening verse of our lesson said it this way,“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Key thought: God shames us to get us to recognize our sins, but God does not shame us when it comes to encouraging us to live in a way that shows our love for him. Does that help understand how God works? It’s a crucial point to understand in order to recognize the tone and spirit of the Bible and not to look at it as a rule book or a guide for happy living. God shames us to get us to recognize our sins, but God does not shame us when it comes to encouraging us to live in a way that shows our love for him. That’s why that opening verse is such a great verse to keep in mind every day of our lives – maybe memorize it as a motto for your life – I was once darkness and so often even now live in darkness which does make me need to be ashamed. But when God brought me to faith in Jesus, he made me someone different from what I was. I am light. I am light in the Lord. That is my identity – a dearly loved child of God because Jesus is my Savior from my sin and shame. So I want to live as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus – not in order to get God to love me, but because God already does love me – because God was not ashamed to make me part of his daylight saving time. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Wake up! It’s morning! Have a great day!
Have a great day that seeks what St. Paul calls here “goodness, righteousness and truth.” Have a great day of goodness, doing good and nice and simple things to help others. Have a great day of righteousness, thinking right and proper thoughts that are part of your daily talking with God. And have a great day of truth, being a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person, because what people see when they see you is someone covered by the blood of Christ, so there’s nothing to hide, nothing to try to take advantage of when interacting with others, no reason not to do everything we can to help people see how true God’s Word is and how truly great it is to be light in the Lord, so they can have a good day – and a good eternity — too!
You may know that there is a movement among some people to do away with daylight saving time since they do not see it as helpful or necessary any more. You may or may not agree with that, or you may not have a strong opinion. But what there can be no debate about is that until Jesus returns, there will never be a time change when it comes to God’s loving warning, God’s loving comfort and God’s loving encouragement. Because of Jesus Christ our Lord – in your life and mine – It’s Always Daylight Saving Time… Amen.