A Beacon of Light
Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message)
Each summer, at some point during our family vacation week at the beach, my children and I visit the Pensacola Lighthouse. Nothing much changes about the lighthouse from year to year; however, the childhood friends invited as guests on our trip differ, so we stop by to see how the renovations are going and make the annual trek up the 177 steps to the top of the black and white cylinder.
Being the ardent history buff that I am, I never tire of hearing the history of the lighthouse, ghost stories and all, but especially the details shared about the 1000 watt bulb magnified by the First Order Fresnel Lens that shines across the harbor, navigating the way for seafarers up to 28 miles in the distance.
According to The Lighthouse Preservation Society, the first lighthouses were built long before the time of Christ, and in fact the earliest known reference to a lighthouse dates back to 1200 BC. The first onshore beacons that were used to guide ships were bonfires, eventually being replaced with iron baskets filled with burning wood or coal and suspended on long poles. In the 18th century, these baskets were replaced by oil or gas lanterns, and in the 20th century, electric beacons replaced the lanterns. In 1822, the Fresnel lens (a collection of multiple glass prisms) was developed, a magnifying lens that projects an intense beam of light.
As Christians, when we read the passage above from the Gospel of Matthew, we are reminded that we are called by God to shine as beacons of light in a broken world. God has called us to be light-bearers, and has even put us on a light stand to shine - to project an intense beam of light!
Many of us learned the song when we were young about not hiding our light under a bushel, but as adults that is exactly what we do sometimes. We get so caught up in living in this world that we forget we are children of the King.
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!