14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.
"Walk in the light! Beautiful light! Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright. Shine all around us, by day and by night. Jesus, the Light of the World!" - J.V. Coombs, 1898
This is one of my favorite gospel songs. I recall learning an arrangement of it while I sang in the chapel choir at Drew Theological School. I don’t know how well I sang my part, but I do remember the power of the words as they hung in the air around me. Somehow the song managed to be an invitation and a command all at once: “WALK IN the light, BEAU-TI-FUL light!”
Jesus’ words likewise remind me of how his light works in our lives. Sometimes we have some light to spare, and sometimes we need all the light we can get. Knowing that there is always this ebb and flow, Jesus reminds us that the one thing we CAN’T do is hide the light.
There will be times when the things we are going through are so dark and difficult that we need as much light as we can get. This is the moment of invitation. We need reassurance that God is with us and that everything is going to be ok, even in those moments when we are most decidedly NOT ok. Sometimes it’s just that faint glimmer of light that allows us to keep going.
Other times, we’ll be doing all right. Don’t get me wrong – we always NEED the light. But some days, when things are going well and we can see Jesus more clearly, it’s a little easier to spare a bit of light for someone else. This is the moment of command. It’s why Jesus tells us we can’t ever hide the light. That’s because on any given day, at any given hour, there’s ALWAYS someone who is walking in the dark who needs whatever light we can spare. And sometimes, that person is us!
For Pondering & Prayer
Is today a day when you need more light, or is today one where you feel comfortable sharing a bit of light? If you need to, be gentle and kind with yourself today. Or be bold and share your hope and faith with someone else. Go forth and live accordingly!
Prayer: Holy God, shine your light into our hearts today. When we need reassurance, we ask that you be there to provide it. When others need reassurance, we ask that we might be there to provide it! Amen.