I am usually (usually!) an upbeat, cheery person most days. But when the winter drags on and on I simply want to strangle that groundhog and make him get his act together and bring on the Spring! (Violence to rodents or any other of God's creatures is strictly frowned up, by the way!) It seems that darkness seeks to envelop me when the days are shorter and darker. When all I want to do is crawl into bed and cover my head except for then my back aches from laying down for too long! (Such a pitiful case I am) What can I do? I exercise. I write. I read, but the enemy grabs ahold of me and brings me down deeper into the dark abyss of despair-for-no-good-reason.
Some people don't think the enemy is real. They think it's a figment of our overactive imaginations. In seminary it was never clear to me whether the professors believed in the reality of Satan, an adversary to God, or if it was a mythical way to explain evil in the world. Further, I always wondered if they just chalked spiritual battles up to moods, sin, and that nasty human free will/original sin thing. Whatever the case, I sincerely believe and teach the disciples in the flock I am entrusted to care for, that the closer you are to Christ, the deeper God pulls you in to the divine heart, the MORE the enemy will attack. Satan wants nothing more than to pull you away from Jesus and his love. This is the struggle we are all committed to: living faithfully while under attack.
Luther was right when he said, "No one should be alone when he opposes Satan. The church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together one may help another. If the prayer of one doesn't help, the prayer of another will."
The church is the light of Christ in the world. You may not think that your presence in your faith community is something that is important. You might say to yourself, "If I don't show up, no one will miss me." But that is simply not true. You are needed. Every Sunday. The community of faith has a hole in it each week because there is always someone missing from the assembly. You are the light. . . you are like a bulb in this chandelier picture. The light gets brighter the more bulbs that are lit! And it is this light that illumines the darkness of your brothers and sisters in faith. We do it for each other through the power of Christ, and by the way - he said to do it, "Let your light so shine before others. . ." It's not just about talents, but it is also about relationships.