You Are the Light of the World

harbor lights

There’s a song our choir sings titled Be Ye Glad (Michael Blanchard) that has the line “So, be like lights on the rim of the water, giving hope in the storm of the night”. I’m not sure exactly what Mr. Blanchard meant but I imagine it’s close to what I think of in this photo.

The lighthouse shines brighter than all the other lights and is the true one to follow. But, the lights along the shore are also helpful and make the journey safer and easier. They show where and where not to go as we focus on the lighthouse.

The lighthouse, of course, represents Christ, Who outshines all others and is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But we’re in the picture, too. The lights along the shore represent us – the lights on the rim of the water that help others on their journey. This fact doesn’t diminish the brightness or glory of the true Lighthouse, for it is Him, our Savior, who gives us our light, and places us where we can best shine to help others.

You are the light of the world.” Jesus’ words given in Matthew 5:14

So, let us shine.

 

 

More on Extras in Movies and God’s Purposes – was this cricket a Columbo star?

 

Cricket Extra

Cricket Extra

 

I watched an old Columbo TV show the other day, and as a car drove by in an outdoor night scene, you could hear one of the cast members making noises in the bushes. The sound of a cricket’s chirps rang out, trying to convince the viewers they really were outside at night.

I’m sure he wasn’t listed in the credits, but, he was probably the cricket cast member for Columbo. If there was a nighttime chirping part to fill, I imagine the sound effects editor  pulled out the same “cricket 101” tape and over-dubbed it on the soundtrack. Perfection every time. Never missed his mark or had to do a re-take.

I wondered if this cricket was featured in other soundtracks. Had I heard him before but didn’t recognize him? Maybe he was a mega-star among crickets and recordings of his chirp were shared among the studios, and his “voice” heard in hundreds of shows and movies. Or was he even an international star – you wouldn’t need subtitles for that, because they all seem to speak the same in any language. (Actually not speaking, of course, but rubbing their wings together.)

I don’t know the answer to those questions or to the cricket’s stardom status. As you see, this relates to my last blog on “extras” in TV and movies. Slightly different because this one isn’t human, and we don’t see him but only hear him. Either way, his purpose is the same as other extras – to improve the quality of the environment, or as one comment said, to enhance the ambience of the scene – to make it more enjoyable.

Again, like my last post, that gives another aspect of being an “extra” that relates to our responsibility as Christians. Like the cricket who was heard and not seen, and perhaps noticed by only one person out of hundreds, we are to make life for others more enjoyable, without searching for praise and glory.

Jesus gave us instructions to enhance the ambience of any scene we’re a part of when He said “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Then, He made it clear that we are the extras and the glory goes to where it truly belongs:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)

The Parable of the Hidden Light

Path Through the Woods

Path Through the Woods

Now, it’s an inviting 2 rut road through the woods but a month or so ago it was more inviting. That’s when I started looking at it as I drove past on the highway. I kept thinking I needed to stop and take a picture – but waited until last week to finally do so.

A month or so ago it had one particular sight that made it more inviting. That was before the trees were so full and the limbs and leaves hadn’t put on a burst of growth (lots of rain!). Particularly the one bush in the middle of the photo on the left side of the road. It covered a spot that revealed the field beyond the woods and the blaze of sunshine from the morning sun.

Thoughts of journeys through the dark woods into the light and other such post themes came to mind. But, I guess the theme now is – if we hesitate long enough, the light can become obscured. So, let’s enjoy the inviting paths into the light before we lose the way.

Again 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.” John 8:12 ESV

And Take Your Chair With You!

Chair

Chair (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

The Lord blessed our Easter Sunrise Service again this year. That morning the chairs were neatly lined in rows in the grass on the east side of the church. The sound equipment was set up on a folding table and the speakers and microphone were in front on their stands. To anyone driving by, it would have been clear there was a service being held on the lawn. And, since many of the chairs were filled, it was also clear there were people who were committed to worshiping the Lord even when it was early in the morning and the temperature was a little nippy.

As the service began, a turkey’s gobble echoed through the woods across the road, and songbirds welcomed the sun as it rose above the tree-lined horizon. We sang praises to God, proclaimed Christ risen indeed, and heard a message about that morning long ago – when the tomb was found empty; About the joy that spread among those first disciples as they began to understand (and see) what Jesus had told them was true. He had conquered death for them and us!

We closed the service with that joy still in our hearts. As we left to begin breakfast preparations, the able-bodied folks folded up a chair or two and carried them toward the fellowship hall. Like ants, the chair-carriers converged from different directions and formed a single file, slow moving line into the building and around to the storage area. The sound equipment was also packed up and returned inside.

If someone drove by fifteen minutes after the closing prayer, they wouldn’t have seen chairs or people sitting in them – no evidence of a worship service, no evidence of commitment. By that time, the chairs were stacked away, and the bacon and eggs were on the griddles. The joy remained with us, but like the chairs, it was now hidden from the world outside.

Jesus called us to be light of the world (to brighten it) and salt of the earth (to season it with grace). That does happen inside the church building, but to be truly effective, our light and salt should also be evident to those who interact with us outside the church building – including those that just happen to be passing by at a particular time. We have to remember not to leave our joy and our commitment to Christ stacked and stored at the church house, but to always carry them with us as we go out again.

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, 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 who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16 ESV