Saturday, February 04, 2017

Light Shall Rise for You

by Jim Bayne

If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday. – Isaiah 58:9-10

Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just 
Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.
– Ps 112:4-5

I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. – 1 COR 2:3-5

“A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." – MT 5:14-16

Prayer for Enlightenment and Guidance  – by AK  (Manila)
Heavenly Father, I come before you, with a humble heart, asking for your forgiveness for my shortcomings and praying for the Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind so that I may do what is right and just. I am confused and I know that only through your loving mercy will I find the answers to my questions. This I pray through your Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

We live in days that are filled with “oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.” Although the physical days are getting longer, they seem filled with much darkness.  The days seem to be in great need of light.

I don’t have a lot of answers because like the author of the prayer above, I often feel confused.  Some days it feels like there are no good answers.  It seems very dark.

Recently, a young man shared with me his battle with depression. He had just come out a period that was very dark for him.  He had no energy for doing anything and the world seemed very bleak.  However, he found that if he pushed himself to reach out to someone else in need, his darkness dissipated.  Not only did the world look brighter to him, it also brightened the life of the person he was able to help.

This fits right in with the Gospel reading: If our light is hidden under a bushel, it is of no value to anyone; alone in my darkness, I am of little value.  Jesus tells us to put our light on a lamp stand.  In other words, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!!”

There was a recent CBS News segment about a little girl in a grocery story encountering an old man who had recently lost his wife and was in a deep depression.  She asked the old man for a hug, got an immediate response, and thus began an ongoing relationship of love.  Little 4-year-old Nora let her light shine in the darkness.
Nora was not just a light in the darkness.  Nora was also Salt.  She brought a new flavor to the life of an old man whose taste for life had gone completely flat. Blah!!  It all began with the simple request for a hug.

I shared this story this past Sunday at a worship service at the assisted living center here at Greenspring where we live.  I wish you could have seen the faces light up just from hearing the story of what Nora had done for one old man!

That is the power that each and every one of us has; the power to make a difference in the lives of the people around us just by reaching out with a little Tender Loving Care (TLC).

This week, study your environment. Look around for someone who needs a hug, or a kind word, or a squeeze of the hand. Bring a little light, a little salt, to your part of the world.

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