No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:15-16 (NRSV)
As I write this, my city of Las Vegas is observing a day of painful memories of the Oct 1, 2017 mass shooting that took place here. At that time, we came together with candles to shine light into the darkness we felt, and to shine hope into the lives of those in our community, and out into the world. Today we find different darknesses trying to invade our lives. Politics, natural disasters, violence, injustices, and the continuing pandemic threaten our sense of hope and security. And in much more restrained gatherings we share candlelight vigils for peace, justice, mercy, and memorials.
We long to come together to light candles to drive back the darkness, but even this is not possible in the ways we long for. But we take comfort in the childhood/camp song, “This Little Light of Mine?” In my life as a camp director I have sung this song hundreds of times, but I think it may be more important this year than ever before.
I read an article recently that the light of a single candle can be seen from 1.6 miles away. This may not seem like much, but as we sit in relative isolation in our quarantined state, let’s consider who is within that 1.6 mile distance in every direction, and how our light might brighten their days. Who does that circle include for you? Schools and families? Business owners and small companies? Nursing and care facilities?
I have heard from so many of you about amazing things that individuals are doing. Shopping, doing lawn work, writing notes, and making phone calls. Some are adept at creating online gatherings that allow us to ‘see’ each other and continue to engage in study and worship. Others felt called to help safely distribute food, or do drive by visits, or create special gifts to drop off to those who can’t get out (I’m told this is affectionately called ‘ding-dong ditch’). The pianist at one church records his amazing music which the members can play at their convenience, bringing into our homes the beauty of worshipful praise through music.
The light of many gathered is meaningful and inspiring. But in this day, it is important that each of us put our light on a lamp post for all the world to see. The individual lights of your church family can illuminate your entire community and bring hope to those who want to find their way to you.
I have made an effort to find joy in each day of this year, and I find it mostly in the glorious creation of our natural world, and in the continued efforts you make to shine the light of Christ through your compassion and love.
I highly recommend you listen to this YouTube video of ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ by (Surprisingly) Bruce Springsteen! It will have you tapping and clapping; and will encourage you to continue joyfully lighting your world. As well as this wonderful song, ‘Go Light Your World’ by Kathy Troccoli.
Thanks for all you do.