Back in February, I wrote about how Jesus uses the images of salt and light to describe who we are in Matthew 5. I've come back to that passage this week, specifically the light image: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16).
I said then, and I'll say it again and probably again and again, that the most important point here is the obvious one: Jesus doesn't say that you can be light, or that you should do this and then you'll be light. He says "you are the light of the world."
Let me repeat it one more time, so we're clear: you ARE the light of the world.
Now let me just point out something that's not in the story. After Jesus tells the disciples that they're the light of the world and that they should let their light shine, the disciples do not all go "oh gosh, Jesus, that's nice of you to say, but no, I'm nothing special" or "aw shucks, Jesus, thanks, but … nah" and then blush because they're embarrassed. The disciples don't then tell Jesus to keep it quiet because they don't want others hearing that. "People don't need to know that, Jesus," they didn't say.
Because they do need to know that. That's the point.
Sure, humility's important, but this isn't about that. This is about honestly and realistically recognizing the importance of sharing our gifts in a way that is a light to others, that inspires others and engages others in a way that leads them to find the light in themselves, too.
Now I know that someone might read this and say "oh, yeah, Robin, 'cause you do that all the time." Yes, I do. And I wish I didn't and I need to be reminded as much as anyone.
Two reasons that I'm reminding myself with this passage this week.
We're dedicating new stained glass windows - five of them - in our church in Bashaw. They're beautiful and … enlightening. They wouldn't be there to engage and inspire us if not for Fern, who sought out local artist Pauline Borreson and worked with her to design and create them. Fern won't really like it that I outed her, but here's the thing: she said that she wasn't creative and she "wished" she could be. And she is. And she made this happen. I think that's inspiring. And that it's Fern makes it personal and real, not just an idea. Everyday that I see those beautiful windows created by Pauline and Fern (and framed by Dwayne, who's awesome with wood), I'm reminded that everyone is capable of being light.
The other is this: Jonathan Langille's family is honouring his memory and wanting to support and inspire others in this community that he loved, though he didn't live in Bashaw long. So they planned an event for September 20th. It's evolved into something a little different than they planned, but it's happening and I think you should want to be there. I know people are busy, and that's okay, but if you live in or around Bashaw please try. It's not about whether you knew him or how he died or where or even when he lived. This is about sharing the one light that we all have. That's not a talent or a skill, it's love. His family and his memory are giving their love to us, can we not offer them our love? And our care and our support?
Please don't leave others in the dark. Be the light.