to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
- Edith Wharton
A dear friend of the family died last week. At her service, her sister gave a tribute. Amongst all of the many folks wearing black, she came to the pulpit wearing white, a vision of light. She spoke about being able to feel that her sister was now filled with light. She asked that we her friends and family, be inspired by all that which was light about her - her playfulness, her kindness, her love. It was a beautiful tribute and her charge to all of us was reminiscent of the one that Jesus gave to his people.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message)
We have a closing ritual in our J2A class. We stand in a circle and pass a candle to each person, saying “Go and be a light in the world”. I learned this ritual from one of my mentors in the UCC. I can’t imagine a more clear and valuable charge for our young people, for all of us really.
So inspired am I to see, feel and be light in the world, I’ve decided this will be our theme this year in church school and J2A and it is my hope that we will inspire the adults to join us in this campaign. What better time to kick this off than on Epiphany. Epiphany marks a visit to the baby Jesus by the Magi. We remember those three wisemen traveling in the dark of night, the inky sky above the desert lit by a shining star that led them to the Christ child, the light of the world.
It doesn’t take much to bring light to the world, even the smallest gestures of light can have a big impact. Think of being in a large auditorium just before curtain call when the house lights go dark and it is pitch black. If one person lit in a match in that dark space, everyone in the auditorium would be a able to see its light. One small match can bring light to that big cavernous space. In much the same way, one small act of kindness can bring light to the dark shadows in our world. And so this is our charge, “Go and be a light in the world.”
In the coming weeks, watch as our “Be a Light” campaign unfolds.
Light on the outside,
Light on the inside.
With God's sunlight shining on you,
May your heart glow with warmth,
Like a turf fire
that welcomes friends and strangers alike.
May the light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window,
Welcoming the weary traveller.