Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 in heaven. From Matthew 5
One of my favorite sayings attributed to the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius is: “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” There is much to complain or worry about in this world: much evil, confusion, suffering. Darkness. This proverb suggests that we do something about it, rather than just talk. No matter how small the candle we light, no matter how insignificant our positive action, it can have an effect.
Jesus’ saying goes farther. He says we are the light. Do we even begin realize what a dramatic statement that is? Yes, we light candles. We do things. We make a difference. But we also are the candle. We are the children of God. We are the difference.
For several centuries, artists from northern Europe and America have spent their winters in southern France. Yes, the weather is lovely! More than the great weather, though, artists find that the light there has a different quality. The way the light shines off a lily pond, or illuminates sunflowers, or causes the sea to sparkle is indescribable. In the south of France, natural light has inspired some of the best Western visual art ever produced.
If we are the light, not just through our acts (though that will certainly be the case), but through our very character, we encourage people to see. With God’s aid, we help others notice both the beauty and the need around them, we encourage the world to observe the spectacular and the grimy, we remind them all that they, too, are light, with the gift of themselves that should be shared and not hidden.
Be the light.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011