Posted tagged ‘light’

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!

Losing Power At Starbucks

April 25, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          April 26, 2013

 

I was at Starbucks yesterday!

Not a surprise, for those who know me. But what happened while I was there was…interesting!

Starbucks lost power! Not one of those little momentary hiccups that we have all experienced. No, this was the loss of power that kept staying lost!

Of course, it happened while I was in the men’s restroom. And, of course, this restroom had no windows…just a while lot of darkness! It allowed me to find out one more reason to have a cell phone. Not to call from the restroom, but rather to shed a little light on the situation.

I emerged from the restroom to a coffee shop that was quiet. If you have been in a Starbucks you know how unusual that is. There is usually the sound of blenders, expresso machines, oven doors opening and closing, music being played from the ceiling speakers, orders being taken. But this time it was quiet and still.

Power that is lost stills the presence. Customers who were about to order waited for a few moments, before giving up and exiting. No frappuccinos…no cappuccinos…no lattes. Donuts were visible, but since there was no power to operate the register they couldn’t be sold. Things came to a halt. Employees stood around not knowing what to do. Losing power was not a chapter in their employee training manuals.

I stay for another twenty minutes or so, long enough to finish my tall coffee, and then made my exit. Several other people had already gathered their belongings, laptops, and workbooks, and preceded my departure. Several stayed.

Losing power leaves people in a quandary. Will it come back? How long before it returns?

It was an object lesson for me about the church. What happens to a church that loses power? Who notices? Who quickly exits, and who waits in hopeful anticipation of its return? What do we do when the power of God is absent? Do we stand around trying to find something to busy ourselves? Do we walk around in confusion?

Hard questions for the church. Harder questions because there are times when we are much more comfortable operating under our own power than we are operating under the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit is suddenly absent how aware are we that the lights have gone off?

Perhaps another relevant question is how urgently do we pray for the moving and empowering of the Holy Spirit in our churches? Every church has its times of delight and periods of desperation, green pastures and dry deserts. Consistent praying gets us through the desert journeys. It gets us through those times when the darkness is evident and we’re not sure when the light will return.

I was back at Starbucks this afternoon…go figure! One of the employees who was here yesterday told me that the power came back on after about forty-five minutes. I told him that I had been in the restroom when it happened. We were able to laugh about it, but if it happens again I’m heading to McDonald’s. Their coffee is just a buck anyway…although their restrooms are more suspect!