Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

A Congregation of Lutheran Church-Canada

Scripture & Sermons



Isaiah 9:1-4
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

1 Corinthians 1:10-18
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-25
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Dreary. I’m hardly surprised and hardly crack a smile anymore when my Alexa smart-speaker tells me in my morning flash briefing that the weather is going to be “dreary.” Dreary indeed! It would be nice to have a little sun to chase away the January blahs before we get into the February ones, but it doesn’t look too promising, not for the next week or so anyways. I think we can all relate to people dwelling in darkness can’t we? Days on end of heavy brooding skies seems to have been the order of the day for weeks now.

The trouble with living in the darkness is that it gets into your head, your heart and sometimes even into your bones. It’s hard to be light hearted when the sky is so heavy. It’s hard to feel hope for the future when you’re living in a fog. It’s hard to have your heart uplifted in joy under a brooding oppressive sky. The darkness without easily creeps within and the darkness within deepens the darkness all around you.

Those who walked in darkness, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, gloom and anguish that’s the way that it was for the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. The Lord had brought her into contempt. He hid His face and she lost the light. The darkness was deep and oppressive She was in anguish and filled with gloom. The darkness got into her head, her heart and even her bones.

The Lord turned from her because she had turned from Him. She had left Him to follow false gods. She had left the living God to worship wood and stone. She had turned from the Light and so she was left to live in the darkness, until it got into her head, her heart, and even her bones, so that under a heavy brooding sky, she might long for the light, look for the light, wait for the light.

In these glorious Epiphany days, beloved, we get to see that light dawn upon that land, scattering its gloom and darkness as the Lord comes to her. They had turned from Him. They had wandered off into the darkness and become hopelessly lost. But in mercy He enters their night. He comes to them. He seeks them out. He shines His light upon them to turn them back to Him.

“Repent,” He cries out. “Turn back,” He calls. His voice turning them, even as His light draws them. He calls and they leave all behind to follow. He manifests His glory and they flock to Him. They follow, they come, because He calls, He appears, just as someone in the gloom of the night can’t help but turn if they hear a voice or look if a light should suddenly be turned on. Without His voice none would turn. Without His light none would come.

But come they did, by the hundreds, by the thousands. All coming to the One they had longed for, waited for, as He arose upon them and came and lived among them. “Lived” that’s a beautiful word it’s a come to stay word a word like “dwelt” and “abide”. The Light came not just to pass over or pass through. The Light came to live among them, to make His home with them.

They had walked in darkness, lived in darkness, but now they had the Light walking among them, living among them and the darkness had to flee. Darkness cannot abide in the presence of the light. The light always dispels the darkness, no matter how deep and dark it may be it cannot quench the light. The night cannot extinguish the smallest candle. It must give way before it. Darkness only reigns when the light leaves. It cannot remain when the light comes to abide, comes to live, comes to stay.

The trouble with living in the darkness is that it gets into your head, your heart and even into your bones. Darkness, deep darkness, heavy, brooding, oppressive, yes, that’s what the sky above us can be like in this broken world that the Lord has brought into contempt because it has turned its back on Him. And that darkness without question can weigh heavily upon us. It can get into our heads, our hearts and even into our bones.

The darkness descends in many ways. We can bring it upon ourselves by turning from the Lord, by not hallowing, enlightening, each of our days with prayer and the Word of God. We can bring it upon ourselves by not walking in His ways, by wandering off into the darkness, turning our backs on the Light, choosing the stormy ways of sin, shunning the paths of love, bringing ourselves into contempt because the Spirit won’t join us on those dark ways.

The darkness also descends because of those around us. We live together in one world all under one sky, those who brought the land of Zebulun and Naphtali into contempt brought it into contempt for all. The sins of the world, the Godless ways of our society, as well as the rebellious ways of those closer to home, family and friends, darken the skies for us also, leaving us heavy laden and heavy hearted. Their darkness gets into our heads, our hearts and even into our bones.

The darkness can seem so overwhelming. As it grows without, it deepens within us, and as it deepens within us it darkens without. But a light, a great light, the Light has dawned upon us in this darkness. He has come to shine upon us and the great good news that comes to us today is that just as He came to live in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali He has also come to make His home with us.

The good news of this day is that the Lord has come to us, sought us out, to come and live with us, to dwell, to abide with us. He did not simply pass over us, but came to be with us forever even unto the end of the age. The Lord does not just shine down upon us from heaven where cloud and mist can hide Him. He has numbered Himself amongst us, come to shine amongst us and even within us.

In Baptism the Lord has come into our lives to shine His light within us. The darkness, the gloom, the brooding and oppressive skies of this age, as well as our own sin and rebellion, can close our heads, our hearts and even our bones to the glories of His light, but as He comes in His flesh and blood, He comes to open our heads, our hearts and even our bones to His brilliance … that we might be renewed in the truth, that though the darkness rage against Him it cannot overcome Him.

And so as the prophet says, beloved, “Arise and shine for your Light has come!” Look upon Him as He comes in mercy and grace to abide with you. Let Him bathe you in His glorious light as He forgives you, that He might lead you, that He might draw you, so that you might follow and you might come. Draw near to Him that He might scatter the darkness within you. Come into His marvellous Light that He might dispel the night around you. Be bathed in His brilliance and He will shine through you into the gloom around you.

Dreary, yes, life in this sinful world living under the dark brooding shadow of death can be very dreary at times, as the weather has been for days now, but take heart, beloved, look to the altar today, where the light that dawned long ago on the land of Zebulun and Naphtali rises to shine upon you here. He is the Eternal Light sent from the Father, who entered the night of Calvary for you, so that His light might rise to shine upon you as He lives with you every day into eternity. Amen.