Posted tagged ‘Alaska’

The Light Shines Into the Hatred

October 28, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 28, 2018

JESUS: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

There’s something about hate that gathers headlines. In recent times it seems to be surfacing in violent and venomous ways. Shooting people and hurling angry words make the nightly news and, in this election time, fills up the TV commercial time. 

Extremists seem to be getting bolder in the acting out of their weirdness and prejudices.  And people, otherwise known as your average citizens, aren’t sure of what they can say because it might be taken the wrong way by someone who will attack like a pit bull in return.

Jesus talked about being light in the midst of darkness, and to let light shine that people might know that goodness still lives and that God still reigns. He wasn’t talking about establishing a publicity ministry that spins out nice stories, but rather entering the shadows of the world as called people on a mission for God. 

It’s a bit of a quandary for those of us who follow Jesus. Light should get noticed and yet, in our culture, “getting noticed” often goes hand-in-hand with tooting our own horn, seeking attention, and even arrogance. We’re often stumped by having a humbleness about our walk with Jesus and letting people know how great our acts of kindness are. Is there “too humble” and also a point that is “over the line arrogant?”

To use a different analogy, friends of ours moved to Alaska this summer. As the fall days head towards winter they are noticing “the absence of light” more and more. Of course, as we head towards mid-December that absence will increase each day. There will come a time, perhaps, when they become more accustomed to the darkness than the absence of light. 

Unfortunately, it may be an analogy of our world right now. We’re more accustomed to darkness than aware of the light’s absence. 

Being light does not blind like the high beams of a car. Light is assuring. It’s altering. Our stairway at home has a light that shows how many steps there are still to take before reaching the bottom. More than once I’ve tried to navigate those steps without the aid of a light and, even though it’s a staircase I’ve gone up and down thousands of times, there is still an uncertainty in the darkness. The light, however, never fails me.

If I am a light that shines for Jesus I don’t need to make sure people are noticing. I can just be who he has called me to be, and who he has called me to.

Someone who opens fire at a Jewish synagogue, kills 11 and wounds 6, will get the headlines. It tells of the price of hatred. Being light in the midst of this devastation will mean different things for different people. At worship this morning I’ll raise up Tree of Life Synagogue to pray for. In Pittsburgh there may be other “people of light” who will come alongside the grieving in love and support. 

What I believe as a follower of Jesus is that light will surpass the darkness…sometime  and someday, individually and collectively. When I find it hard to open up the daily newspaper I remind myself that light will ultimately triumph.

Like my friends in Alaska who will be asking the question, “Will we ever see light again?”; the answer is…yes! Don’t get used to living in the darkness! Keep believing that light will come back!

Missing Moose

July 24, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        July 24, 2015


My wife, Carol, and I returned this week from an Alaskan cruise. We marveled at the glaciers that were “calving”- the breaking off of chunks of ice that fall into the waters below. The sound is like thunder…ice thunder! We were awed by the train ride up White Pass. One picture that I took could be on a postcard, or, for me, a jigsaw puzzle!

But we didn’t see any moose! Several times on our excursion trips the guide or bus driver would tell us to keep our eyes peeled for moose and bear because these were the spots that they liked to frequent.

No moose on the loose…no bear for us to stare!

It wasn’t that they weren’t out there, just not in visual range. Frankly, the last moose I saw was in Colorado Springs within an echo of the downtown area!

Sometimes my spiritual eyes are on the same focus point as my moose sightings. I think that I need to travel a far distance from home to experience something of God, when the truth is God-sightings are within an echo of where I am.

Yesterday a dear lady from our church shared a wonderful story with me about a God-moment she unexpectedly had that was confusing in the midst of it, but an amazing God-story at the end of it. I believe the effect of it is that she will be on the lookout with spiritual binoculars for where God will show up next.

A close friend of mine who is dealing with a life-threatening illness had experienced the orchestration of God in numerous ways all through this past month.

It is almost always our lack of looking that blinds us from what we could possibly see. And our tendency is simply not to be looking right where we are…believing that the workings of God must be more glorious and obvious in another location…on a cruise ship…on the other side where the grass is greener.

I missed moose in Alaska. It wasn’t meant to be, but I did see whales and salmons swimming upstream.

If we simply look for God to be seen in one specific way we will rob ourselves of the opportunities he chooses to show himself!