“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.”
Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
The Gospel according to St. Luke 8:16-18
Jesus uses the tangible incandescence of a candle to illustrate the spirit of salvation. The spirit of salvation as light is even referenced in secular culture because we, as humans, innately know that goodness and beauty of character can bring the light of hope into a world that has lost its hope. It is the Light of Jesus that humanity searches for, and he has given us the privilege to carry the true Light of Life.
I am drawn to light, aren’t you? Whether it’s a candle in the early morning or the dawn of a new day, light kindles our spirit with anticipation. When Jesus taught us about the power of light, he wasn’t referring to the lamp or the wick. Sometimes I can confuse what Jesus desires from me by thinking it’s up to me to kindle hope in others. I’m not the fire! Good thing! The privilege and responsibility of being the lamp and the wick is enough. I am in his hands to place wherever he desires to put me, for he knows where the flame from the fire of his salvation reflected in me needs to shine.
So, just how do we shine? Well, we don’t do anything. Light simply shines in response to the action of the one who lights the candle. St. John recorded Jesus’ words to us on how he enflames us with his light.
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
–St. John 8:12
I still sing to myself a line from the old Sunday School song, “…brighten the corner where you are” to remind me to be the wick and lamp for the light of Jesus in my corner of the world. It’s not always easy for us to shine in dim corners full of fear, anger, and pride, but remember, it’s not our job. Jesus ignites, and we carry his light to wherever he sends us.
Maybe the light in your lamp is just a smoldering ember, as the prophet Isaiah puts it. You are at a loss on how to be in your corner. The prophet Isaiah perfectly describes how we are to BE when he wrote God’s instruction for us:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies.
Isn’t that the light our world needs; when we shine this way, others will draw toward the Light of Jesus within us! Just like a candle flame in a darkened room, a calm spirit in the dark shadows of life shines brightly. Our strength is from the LORD, and it is he who shines through us into those dim corners. His mercy kindles the fire in our souls, and in his beautiful way, he can calm all the useless struggles of humanity and gather them into his peace if we will but carry our lamp into our corner of the world.
Light of the World, we welcome you to ignite the flame of your love and mercy in every relationship and circumstance of our lives. May we be the calming presence that reveals the light of your salvation.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be, world without end.