THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Tuesday, March 2nd
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Isaiah 2:5 (NRSV)
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
Psalm 4:6 (NRSV)
Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Psalm 31:16 (NRSV)
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 5:16 (NRSV)
Here in the northern hemisphere, the daylight hours are increasing, and my spirit is lifting. The sunshine brings forth warmer days, new growth, and brighter surroundings. Oh, there are gifts to be found in the seasonal darkness, but I rejoice when the days grow longer!
The Bible speaks often of light – the shining light of God, as well as the light of love we reflect from God’s light. God’s light can guide us through the wilderness… illuminate our way in the darkness… reveal our imperfections… heal our wounds… enlighten our thoughts… shine hope on our future… and simply brighten our souls with joy, peace, and love. Our spiritual invitation for today is to let God’s light shine on us so that we may let God’s light shine through us onto others.
What are the best ways to let the light of God shine for someone? One important way is to let God control our dimmer switch…
My usual image of the light of God’s love is one of incredible brightness; one that shines with infinite joy and delight. I see that type of light shine from the faces and through the voices of the Gaither Vocal Band in concert, or the sheer joy that radiates from a community gathered to celebrate a special occasion, or even the beautiful smile that beams from someone who is happy to see me. This light is so bright, so full, so powerful – a vivid display of the goodness of God’s love!
But when life is hard for someone, we do not bless by pretending that it isn’t, shining bright lights of joy and delight. I have a friend who attended a funeral for a dear one who died tragically. The minister spoke as if this senseless death was the best thing to happen to this young man and his loved ones gathered there. My friend struggled to find the God she knew was there to comfort and heal.
These are the times when we let God turn down our brightness, to let us become like a small candle flame; to become a light that gently warms, comforts, and signifies hope. We ask God to let us shine enough light to help and soothe, but not to diminish the darkness that reverently acknowledges and quietly honors the sorrow or despair. The light of God’s love has no need to diminish or discard this much-needed time of grief or pain. God’s healing will come as a gradually brightening light over time.
I think of Jesus, whose light wasn’t always the bright light of enthusiastic joy. His light was the care and comfort he offered to those who were suffering or grieving. His light was the anger against injustice. His light was the feeding and filling of those who were hungry. His light was the love shown in the silences against his accusers, in his words of salvation to the criminal hanging next to him, and in his words of forgiveness for the people who hurt and crucified him – including all of us.
We shine the light of God’s love not to bring attention to ourselves, but to reveal the goodness of God. We may become the illuminating light of a lamp when people are searching and seeking. We might become the soft glowing embers of love for dear ones gathered near. We could be the focused beam of a flashlight for someone who feels lost or unsure. When we let God’s light shine upon us and within us, God will then guide and control the brightness of the light that radiates from us, with all sensitivity and goodness.
May we let the light of God shine upon us, be absorbed within us, and then radiated from us, always with the intensity that will best enable others to see themselves as beloved.
The readings for tomorrow will be Isaiah 12:5, Psalm 67:3, Romans 15:11, and Hebrews 13:15.
Photo by Karen, taken at Swan Creek Metropark, Toledo
Bible verses found at BibleGateway.com