But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
If you go to the country of Turkey and visit Cappadocia, the guide will show you underground cities where Christians went to escape persecution. It is a place both frightening and impressive.
Still, most Christians, when they were able, always returned to the light. It is a quality which made them quite unlike the followers of 83-year-old Fayzrahman Satarov. Mr. Satarov is a leader of a Muslim sect in Russia's province of Tatarstan.
Mr. Satarov claims to be both a prophet and a person who will someday direct a caliphate. Those assertions, and the fact that he refuses to acknowledge his country's authority, has not endeared him to official and religious leaders. Still, what is most interesting about Mr. Satarov is that he has his followers living underground.
When I say "underground," I mean underground. That's underground 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. There are children in this sect, some as old as seventeen, who have never seen the sun.
Did you catch that last line? Many of the children have never seen the sun.
A few weeks ago, when the Russian authorities raided Satarov's underground compound, they brought those children into the light for the first time?
Can you imagine what those children thought, what they felt? They were in the sun, free to experience the colors, the glories of nature, the passing of the clouds, the bits and pieces of life which we all take for granted. Those children had to be overwhelmed by the glory of it all.
The only thing which might be more overwhelming is to be a person who has been wandering around in spiritual darkness and then, by the Holy Spirit's power, is brought into the light which comes through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.
What a transformation!
By God's grace a condemned sinner has been made a converted saint. By the Lord's action we who were doomed and damned are rescued and restored to the family of faith. Through God's love we are forgiven of our sins and free to live a life of praise to our great and wonderful Lord.
How did Peter say it? We have been called out of darkness so we might proclaim our most excellent Lord.
I should think so.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once I was in darkness, but now I live in the Light of my Savior. May I, as best as I am able, reflect the love I have received into the lives of the many millions who still wander in the dark. May I do what I can so they may see the Son… the Son of God. In His Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries