Monday, March 21, 2016

A Light to the Nations

By Melanie Rigney

It is too little, (God) says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. (Psalm 71:1-2)

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:36-37)

Lord, show me how to lay down my life for You in little and big ways today.

A women’s retreat, in another state. During some down time, near the end of the weekend, several of us started talking about our government jobs and the difficulty we sometimes found in bringing Christ into the workplace beyond trying to serve as models in the way we conduct ourselves, in attempting to love our neighbors as ourselves.

One woman fished out of her purse a photo. It appeared to be a shrine of some sort… medallions, icons, rosaries, prayer cards, statuary, even candles. But the candles were unlit. It turned out she works for the federal government. It all started with a single image of Jesus, as I recall. People who came to her cube started asking her about why she had the picture. She told them she was Catholic. No one asked her to take it down. Slowly but surely, as her colleagues traveled, they brought back items for her cube. Sometimes, she thought they were meant as jokes, but none were offensive, so she thanked them and kept adding the items to her space. There’s been a conversion story or two over the years, she said, and people, believers in some form of God or not, often stop by and tell her their problems and ask for her prayers. She always listens and prayers. She considers it part of her job.

As for me, my home work space (pictured at right) is pretty Catholic, but at the day job? Not so much. Then recently, I was working on an oh-so-important project. An essential phone meeting was scheduled on my day off, at a time that was going to present a conflict. At first, I simply said that, that I had an appointment and so the call would need to end by a certain time. I was asked by several people if I couldn’t reschedule it. Then I thought of that woman and her workplace shrine. “I’m Catholic,” I said, “and I’m signed up for adoration for an hour. That means I get to go and sit with the Blessed Host, which we believe is Jesus, and when the Host is exposed, we don’t leave Jesus alone.” There was silence, then we moved on. But the next day, the call ended in time for me to get to the adoration chapel.

The next workday, a colleague came to my office. He shut the door, then proceeded to tell me about when he was young and would go to adoration. He also told me a bit about his current faith life with a nondenominational church. Then he opened the door and left.

It can be challenging to talk about and show our faith outside of our safe little church communities. But when we opt for the safe, quiet course, we forego opportunities to evangelize, to be a light to all nations. Take a chance. Let it shine.

Do or say something today at work, at school, at the grocery store or elsewhere that shows your faith to people outside your usual faith circle.

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