Let Your Light Shine

One Halloween night when I was about ten years old, my little sister and I took off by ourselves to go trick or treating.  We decided to check out a new neighborhood on our school bus route that had a lot of houses, but was quite a distance from our home.  What seemed like a good idea at the time didn’t turn out as we had hoped.  We had not accounted for how far away it really was on foot and how quickly the sun would go down.  By the time we finally reached the “candy rich” neighborhood, it was getting dark.  After only a couple of houses the growing darkness took the fun out of trick or treating and we started getting very nervous so we headed back home.  We were out in the country and there were no street lights or others houses close by.  We walked for at least half a mile in total darkness.  My earlier nervousness had now turned into outright fear.  To this day, I can still remember what a relief it was to see the lights of a house in our neighborhood off in the distance.  That light shining in the darkness made all the difference.  It brought comfort and peace to two very frightened and lost kids.

God doesn’t want us living in darkness, as evidenced by His very first command recorded in the Creation Story – “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3)  Tragically, it wasn’t long after God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden (Paradise on Earth) that the world was plunged into the darkness of sin as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command not to eat of the forbidden fruit.  All that God had created and declared to be “good” was now at risk of being destroyed because of “sin” and the darkness and death it brings into the world.

Out of His love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ (the new Adam) to save us from the power of sin and death resulting from the first Adam’s sinful disobedience.  Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)   The Apostle John writes, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5).

Jesus is in fact the true “light of the world” that brings life — not death; goodness — not evil; peace — not fear; comfort – not sorrow; fulfillment – not emptiness.  In the Psalms we read, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of your presence Lord.” (Psalm 89:15).

Jesus not only invites us to walk in the light of His presence, but also to be a reflection of His light as we share in His ministry of salvation.  As His disciples, Jesus commands us to go forth boldly in His name and to be a channel of His love and mercy and healing grace.  Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16).

The theme of this year’s Diocesan Convention is focused on our Lord’s command: “Let your light shine!” (Matthew 5:16)  I invite everyone in the Diocese to join us at Camp of the Woods, Speculator, NY (June 9th – 11th) as we learn not only how to better walk in the light of Christ, but also how to be a reflection of His Light so that those around us who are stumbling in the darkness will see and be drawn to the light of Christ in order that they may be set free to truly live and become children of God.