How Does Your Light Shine [Sermon]

Think about how humans have produced light.

At one point, we relied on fusion reactors.

Stars. I’m talking about stars.

In the day, there was the star we call the sun.

In the night, we had stars as well. We also had things that reflected the light of stars: planets (which we thought were also stars) and the moon.

And then we learned to control fire, ad we had light at night that we could control: light from wood fires, then light from oil fires, then candles, then gas fires.

We made it so we could live in spaces where we blocked out the suns light and then made other light.

And then the electric light: first carbon arcs, and then heated filaments, and then has discharge lights like neon, mercury vapor, and fluorescent lights.

Now we’re making light from Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs.

Let’s go to God in prayer.
God of wisdom, may the words that I speak, and the ways they are received by each of our hearts and minds, help us to continue to grow into the people, and the church, that you have dreamed us to be.
Amen.

For it is the God who said,
“Let light shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6, NRSVue

What does that light look like?

Is it a uniform kind of light, the same intensity, color, and shape in each person? It’s tempting to think that we should all be shining forth the same perfect light, the light of Christ.

In churches around the world, there are paschal candles, Christ candles, that are shining.

And no two flames look the same.

In fact, candles look different, although some churches use candles that are actually plastic with oil lamps inside, so I guess those would look the same as each other.

But even a single flame changes from moment to moment.
If the flame doesn’t change at all, it starts to look fake.

Look at the lights God created: billions of stars, which we now know may be huge, or small, and of different brightness and color.

And the closest star, our sun, changes constantly, sometimes with solar storms that can disrupt electrical things on earth.
As I said at the beginning, humans have created light in many ways.

Each time we add a new way, the old ways still exist:
there are people sitting by the light of campfires, people with oil and gas lamps, incandescent, neon, and fluorescent lamps,
and LED lights like those in our chandeliers.

And so if we’re going to use the metaphor of light to represent our testimony of faith, we can see that we have many ways to let that light shine forth:
in speech,
in writing,
and perhaps most importantly, in action.

One person’ light does not need to be the same as another’s, and one person’s light does not have to stay the same throughout their life.

We can share our faith by talking with people in groups or one-on-one.
We can write about what we believe in letters to newspapers, and on social media.
And we can care for others by helping to provide for their needs,
by advocating for justice,
by standing in solidarity with people,
and by just being present to people in their challenges and their triumphs.

We have a lot of things going on this month: much of it is related to LGBT pride, but we are also going to be present for the Juneteenth celebration.

This is one way we let the lights of our church shine.

So this week I challenge us all to take a look at the opportunities we have to shine the kinds of light that we believe really come from Jesus: lights of compassion, love, and grace.

May our lights shine as the stars of night: with the power of giant fusion reactors.

Amen.


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