“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
It is said that in its hey day, the Temple of Jerusalem was like a beacon on a hill. Against the backdrop of the drab hill surrounding it, the whitewashed walls of the Temple could be seen for miles. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:14-16).
Looking back at this past year, we have seen a lot of dark. There is world unrest, natural disasters, families struggling and way too many predictions of the end of the world. When I was in Sunday school as a young boy, we used to sing “this little light of mine” and we learned not to cover our “fin-ger-light” with the cup of our hand. How can we keep the light of Christ alive in us? What needs to happen to bring the light of Christ to our fami-lies, our church and to our community? What needs to change so that the light can continue to shine?
This year we have seen a change in the marketplace because of the ban of some incandescent bulbs but new kinds of bulbs are now available. The new bulbs are supposed to be more efficient and use less energy but some prefer the ones like Edison developed over 130 years ago. It is good that we have new and better bulbs because the kinds of darkness seem to also be growing.
Our increasing addiction to technology has yielded more isolation and people lonely for a real personal relationship. If there was ever a time for the church, it is now. Like our light bulbs, people need to be connected to the source of power in order for the light of Christ to shine through. People need to grow in love in order be a help through the darkness that we see all around us.
This year let us model our mission using the different kinds of light bulbs as examples.
Incandescent-Let us be reliable and universal in bringing the light. Even though some of our models are being discontinued, let us continue to show how easy it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ and let them know that there are still a lot of us around.
CFLs (compact Fluorescent lights)-Let people know that the church can change and there are new ways of bringing the light while being good stew-ards of our time and energy. We can pack a lot into our lives and still have energy left over to help others.
LEDs (light emitting diode)-Show those around us that God’s word is still relevant, even though we live in a much different world than we did 130 years ago. Let us continue to improve ourselves and adapt to new chal-lenges with a light that cannot be easily broken.
Sometimes we need to include all the different kinds of light, including all those who are helping us light this world with the light of Christ—the one light that we all point to. May 2013 find you letting your light shine no matter what kind of bulbs you use.
Pastor Herb VanderBilt
East Nelson United Methodist Church
9024 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs