As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work (John 9:4).
“Night is coming…” Those words convey urgency. They relay concern. When we are 6, 60 is only a small speck of light far away. When we reach 60, we can see the yellow light of 80 blinking just down the road. If we reach 80, we will see our sun beginning to set. Night is coming…
Nations also move from day to night. The sun was shining brightly over Europe the summer of 1914. Wonderful weather! Booming economy, political stability. The King of England, the Kaiser of Germany, and the Tsar of Russia were all cousins. Everything was good—until the guns of August and world war. 18 million died. The sun shone again during the roaring 20s. But by 1939 the darkness of war returned as an eclipse over Europe. In 1941, the darkness hit America. 50-80 million killed. The darkness returned in 1950, spreading out from Korea. 37 million killed.
In the 60s the darkness spread from Vietnam. 58 thousand Americans killed. The Gulf Wars: 5 thousand, and counting. So where does America stand today? How close is the return to darkness? Where do we stand on the path of our life? How much time do we have before our sun sets? What will we do then?
Jesus once told the Disciples, “we must do the work of him who sent me.” “Night is coming…” We must do our Father’s work. Time is limited. How will we prepare for the coming of night? Who will prepare our children for the darkness of the next war? Who will prepare souls for the onslaught of death? “Night is coming…”
The darkest day in world history came when daylight failed over Jerusalem from noon to 3:00pm. From a center cross a cry of distress went up to heaven—and no one answered. This was the night Jesus warned about. Time had run out. His rescue mission was over. “It is finished!” But that changed everything. That opened a hole to heaven for humans.
A famous coach told his ball carriers: Run to daylight! Good advice for football. Good advice for life. Death and disaster may block our path, but they need not frighten us. They will not stop us. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. We can carry out our life’s mission. At the end of our life is a sunset. We can see the light breaking through the dark clouds. We will work in our Father’s world before the night comes.
Then, we will run to daylight.
We pick up the echo of a song sung by those who went before us:
“The golden evening brightens in the west; Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest. Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest. Alleluia! Alleluia!” Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military