The first day of school means excitement, new and old friends, and maybe some anxiety. In the first chapel message of the year, Dr. Buuck reminded students that Jesus is the Light of the World and because He conquered the darkness of our sin, we can live in the light that is Christ's forgiveness, grace and mercy.
"Are you afraid of the dark? If I asked for a show of hands, I’m sure there are plenty of you in this gym this morning who are afraid of the dark. At this point in my life, I’m actually not afraid of the dark. I’m a big boy now. I often wake up before the sun comes up and have no problem wandering around my house in the dark. But when I was younger, I was definitely afraid of the dark. As a kid growing up in Portland, I vividly remember turning the lights off in our basement and sprinting up the steps in in my childhood home convinced that something was right behind me and chasing me up the steps.
Our chapel theme for this year is from John 8:12 which says, “Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus said I AM the light of the world. It’s the second of seven I AM statements that Jesus makes in the book of John. I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the gate, I am the good shepherd, I am the resurrection and the life, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and I am the vine. What a great chapel theme verse. We have this bold reminder that Jesus and Jesus alone is the light of the world. Only He can conquer the darkness of our sin. And there are two promises attached to it: we will not walk in darkness and we’ll have the light of life.
Most people love the light. For that reason, most people love summers because the sun is out longer. There is something about sunlight that brightens most people’s dispositions. Since the sun is out pretty much every day in Las Vegas, we tend to take it for granted. But that big star is really amazing. It's 93 million miles away so it looks pretty small. But if it were hollow, you could fit about one million earths inside of it. And at its core, the sun is almost 29 million degrees. It certainly lights up our planet each day.
We also happen to live in a very unique city in the United States because even at night, there are millions of lights brightening up our sky. I filmed this video on my phone in May of 2017 when I was flying back from Reno after watching our lacrosse team win their state championship by defeating Reno High School. I got to sit in the co-pilot seat on this plane and started filming the final minute of our descent into McCarran Airport. It reminded me a lot of our chapel theme this year.
First of all, it reminds me that there is a lot of darkness out there in the world. Secondly, there are lot of other “lights” in the world - things out there that world tells us to follow to have a great life or other religions that claim to be the light. But following any of those would lead to a crash. The lights on the runway and path that they laid out for us got us safely home. Only the light of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection provide us a safe landing since we know we’ll get to live eternally with God because of what Christ has done for us. He is indeed the light of the world. The reality is that we all have a sickness and a darkness in our lives called sin. Only repentance and faith in Jesus will save us. Just like I sprinted up those stairs as a kid, I think about how we should consider the darkness of our sin and run toward the light of God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus.
You will remember that was a very dark day on Good Friday when the Son of God was hammered onto a tree to take the punishment for our sins that we deserved. Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention that from noon until three in the afternoon during Jesus’ crucifixion, it got strangely dark. The dark weight of sin hung over the world as God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus. But three days later, the light of the resurrection pushed back the darkness of sin as Jesus rose triumphantly beating sin, death, and the power of the devil once and for all. He now offers the light of His forgiveness and grace to us.
Again, our verse this year for our chapel theme is John 8:12…if you read 18 verses later, in John 8:30, you’ll see these words: “Even as he spoke, many put their faith in Him.” That is half of our mission here at Faith Lutheran. That as we share the light of Jesus with each other, we will ensure that everyone will indeed be saved. That is my prayer for us all. Amen."
Dr. Steve Buuck serves as CEO at Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School in Las Vegas, NV. For future chapel messages, be sure to tune in weekly at https://www.faithlutheranlv.org/page/student-life/chapel