Arise, Shine, For Your
Light Is Come
Isaiah 60:1-6

Dr. William S. Epps, Senior Pastor

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Arise, Shine, For Your Light Is Come
1Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. 6The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. 
Isaiah 60:1-6
Prayer: Lord, thank you for bringing us to a new year, a time to begin again with a fresh start to make of our lives what they have the potential of becoming. May we rise and shine because Advent’s light has come into our lives to brighten the way and guide us each day.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer. Amen. 
Today is the first Sunday in 2022. Let me begin by wishing you all a Happy New Year. There is an old proverb which says,
Look well to this day, for it is the life of life / In it lie all of the realities and verities of existence / the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is but a vision
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well therefore to this day, for it alone is life. 
Such is the salutation of the dawn.

Today is Epiphany Sunday. We are already at the second day into 2022. We have 363 days excluding today to prepare to make of this year all we can. It is up to you to give it your best.  

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
T.S. Eliot

As I muse on those words, I want to ask us, what voice are we going to use moving forward through the uncharted terrain of the uncertainty we face
I suggest a voice of assurance for adversity, a voice of courage for our circumstances, a voice of hope for our hurts, a voice of faith for our frustration, a voice of strength for our situation

Consider what it means to determine the voice you will use to move forward through the year. 
Monday, January 3, 2022
Beside Easter, Epiphany is the oldest Christian Church festival. Epiphany means to “reveal or appear.” We celebrate this festival because God revealed the “Light of the World to us.” 

What a way to begin the year, focusing on the light that has come to us in the life of Christ Jesus. Isaiah reminds us that our light has come. The light of the world has come. The One who dispels the darkness has arrived. The One who does this is Jesus. Jesus said of himself, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As we look at the life of Jesus, hear his words, embrace his miracles, we come to the conclusion that is expressed by John's gospel, “the word became flesh and dealt among us. We beheld his glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth … in him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in darkness and the darkness could not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). Jesus has lightened up our lives. As the word made flesh, Jesus has become “a lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 119:105).
Our new year is happy because we have been given light to dispel the darkness - the darkness of despair, death, disappointment, discouragement, distress, and doubt.

The Glory of Zion
 1Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV)

Isaiah penned these words for a people who were languishing in the throes of captivity. Due to Babylonian captivity, it had been a long, dark season for Israel. Isaiah 60 is addressed to a people in crisis. Attempts to rebuild the temple had come to naught because of strife within the community, the economy of Judea and Jerusalem were in dire straits because of the devastation of warfare and the influence of foreign powersOur passage is a word of faith and hope to a community that found its capacity for both tested
It is utterly appropriate for Epiphany to follow Advent. Jesus preached and acted out the good news of the kingdom or reign of God in a time when the people of Israel were again in crisis, in exile at home under Roman domination and oppressed by a kingdom ruled by Caesar who claimed to be God. 
Consider what it means to have faith and hope when you find that your capacity to believe is tested.   
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Now comes the season of light. (It has been said that the darkest hour is just before dawn). The light is not self-generatedIt is a gift of God. God is the only source of hope and possibility. We don't control the light. Light is given to us to awaken us to the promise and possibilities on the distant horizon. In the life of the nation of Israel, God's coming is often presented as the coming of light. God’s glory shines. When God’s glory shines, Israel lives and basks in the aura of the radiant glow. Isaiah told of a time when the Lord would deliver his people from their captors. God’s coming will decisively transform Israel’s circumstances of despondency (60:1-2). What you need to live has been given. Without light there would be no life. No wonder Genesis says the first words spoken in the story of creation is "let there be light.
Something new is happening that Israel could not have expected or believed. When Israel lifts its eyes from despair it will not believe what it sees. There is a huge procession from everywhere. Jerusalem thought itself abandoned; now all are making their journey there. 
Through Isaiah, God foretold the coming of the ultimate deliverer, Jesus. In Christ God has shined his glorious light on our lives and invites us to rise and shine. God urges us to come into the light that has been provided. What sustains the community – the only thing that can sustain us through times of crisis – is the faith that we are loved by God and that we exist for a purpose that can support us in any crisisThe well-being of the people cannot be secured apart from their faith in God (Yahweh), nor can God be worshipped apart from the existence and well-being of a faithful people. God has always dwelt among the people and remains with them, particularly in times of crisis, and their faithfulness to God is critical to the coming of the light or the rule of God. Through their commitment to worship, study, and deeds of loving kindness, they contribute to make possible the coming of God’s loving justice.  
Consider what it means to have faith in God’s love and strength to sustain you through any crisis.  
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Firstly, we are invited to put the light of our faith on display. 
Rise and shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has
risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
The nation of Israel is addressed with an imperative: arise and shine. This is an invitation. 
Arise and shine are cheerful words for beginning a new year, starting all over again. God’s encouragement through the prophet Isaiah is that we put the light of our faith on display for those around us. The Lord says rise and shine. We are to be beacons of light in the worldA beacon shines brightly in the night to guide to safety from danger. Our lives serve as beacons in a world to provide the light needed for people to navigate their way through existence. Let others see the light that God reflects off of you. 
A beacon flashing continually so as to alert, guide and warn. Rise and shine as beacons in the world putting the light of your faith on display. 

Trust in God and Do the Right / by Norman Macleod
Courage, brother! do not stumble, Though thy path is dark as night;
There's a star to guide the humble— / Trust in God and do the right.
Let the road be long and dreary, / And its ending out of sight;
Foot it bravely—strong or weary— / Trust in God and do the right.
Perish policy and cunning, / Perish all that fears the light;
Whether losing, whether winning, / Trust in God and do the right.
Trust no party, church, or faction, / Trust no leader in the fight;
But in every word and action / Trust in God and do the right.
Trust no forms of guilty passion— / Friends can look like angels bright;
Trust no custom, school, or fashion— / Trust in God and do the right.
Some will hate thee, some will love thee; / Some will flatter, some will slight;
Cease from man and look above thee— Trust in God and do the right.
Firmest rule, and safest guiding, / Inward peace and inward light;
Star upon our path abiding— / Trust in God and do the right.

Consider what it means to put the light of your faith on display.  
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Secondly, we are told about what the light of faith can do.  
As you let your light shine God also urges you to rise and shine so that we may see what that light brings to us. 
As we witness to the light of the Lord shining in our hearts there are opportunities for praise. Isaiah spoke of these opportunities when he wrote, “Then you will look radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come (Isaiah 60:5-6). 
We will praise the Lord with our lips and our treasure. The greatest gift we can give the Lord is ourselves. Giving ourselves for the Lord means that we are willing to put ourselves at the Lord's disposal. The text also speaks of praising God with our material possessions. Isaiah mentions gifts of gold and incense. As we hear these words, we are reminded of the wise men who came searching as they were guided to worship the Christ child. When they found him, they gave to him gold, frankincense and myrrh. This was their way of praising the Lord for sending Jesus into the world.
Over the centuries, the Christian faith (like other faiths) has been used to justify exploitation, oppression, imperialism and the persecution of minorities. But as its true precepts have taken root in reformers, Christian faith has also been a powerful source of criticism of those practices. The Christian Faith inevitably raises the question: What if everyone we favor, and everyone we fear, and everyone we help, and everyone we exploit, and everyone we love, and everyone we hate, were the reflection of the image of God — unique, valuable and made in God’s image?
This Christian vision of human rights and dignity has grabbed men and women by the collar in every generation — In every generation there are those who have modeled what the light of faith can do and accomplish. Some are more prominent than others. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of those who modeled what the light of faith can do, revealing that hypocrisy becomes unsustainable. A seed gets planted. And a greater power emerges, revealing new leaders and shaming those who reduce the Christian Faith to a sad and sordid game of thrones.
Consider what it means to model what the light of faith can do for you.  
Friday, January 7, 2022
Thirdly, the light of faith turns things around.
Damaged Jerusalem has become the pivot and possibility for a new world. The exiles bring wealth not to prosper Jerusalem, but to worship God. God’s presence creates newness for the entire world. All receive the gift of life – Jerusalem, the exiles, the nations.  

As we go forth filled with thankfulness and joy we shall see that same kind of joy and thankfulness in those around us. 
Light exposes what is present but we are in danger of overlooking. Light energizes the growth potential of the living. Light attracts in a single direction what it energizes toward growth. 

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for Him each day;
In every way try to please Him,
At home, at school, at play.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. 
Consider what it means that the light of faith can turn things around.  
Saturday, January 8, 2022

THE GATE OF THE YEAR a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” 
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” 
So we go on not knowing, cannot know if we might
we'd rather walk with God in the darkness than alone in the light
we'd rather walk with God by faith than alone by sight. 

Jesus is the light of the world / Walk in the light (walk in the light)
Beautiful light (well it's a beautiful light) / Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright (Oh Lord) / Shine all around us by day and by night
Oh oh oh oh, Jesus is the light of the world
Consider what it means to put your hand in the hand of the Lord going forward into the unknown with the certainty of the Lord's guiding
and strengthening presence.
Walk in the Light
Mt. Zion Nashville Sanctuary Choir
2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318