A Little Light

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.    Matthew 5:16

In the continuing wake of the killing of George Floyd, a fellow blogger wrote Say His Name.  It’s a great piece that tearfully asks what do we do?  She really was looking for responses, because posting thoughts and prayers on social media just “seems empty and completely out of touch.

Is this helping?

My reply to my friend was that prayer needs to be the means of first resort, not last.  I want to expand on that brief response to her blog this morning.

Maybe we should even leave thoughts out of it altogether.  Why?  The answer is the same as to the reason why thoughts seem to be an empty offering.  We know that George Floyd’s death is too big for us.  The riots are too big for us.  The roots of the event run too deeply in our society; they are too big for us.  Of course offering thoughts seems week, because it is!

But let’s not lump prayers in with thoughts.  Prayers directed to God through His Son, Jesus, are also bigger than we are!  Certainly, they are bigger than our mere thoughts!  And yet, we want to do something instead of relying on God to work in this situation.  Still…

Maybe there is something we can do.  You and me.  We pray, yes.  We pray God to enter the hearts and minds of those who do these things as well as the rioters who are only doing more harm, even one death so far.

That’s the big picture for God.  There is a smaller picture, a smaller stage we can work on.  Be God’s light in the world.  Not the whole world…just our personal “whole” world.  Shine where you are.  I can’t shine in Minneapolis, but I can shine in Memphis.  My light isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things, but it’ll do where I am.

If you shine your small light wherever you are, your light is added to mine.  If enough of us shine God’s light of love where we are, the overall effect will be brilliant.

I’m sure you’ve seen satellite images of cities at night.  You can see city lights from orbit.  It isn’t so because any one light is so strong.  It’s because there are so many of them!!  This is how it works with Christianity.  If enough lights shine in concert with God’s love that defeats prejudice and violence, we can move our society from cultures of hates toward cultures of love.

I am not a Pollyanna.  I know the world will never become perfect until Jesus’ second coming.  I do know that we can have an effect.  Why else would Jesus tell us to let our lights shine?

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…    Philippians 2:14-15

Blameless and harmless.  What if all police worked toward that?  What if all citizens worked toward that?  Honestly, how many YouTube videos have you seen of high schoolers and adults in hair pulling, jaw breaking cat fights?  Everyone needs some help.

God tasks us with trying to have an effect on all of that, to shine light on it.

Again, no one here is naïve, God least of all.  We’ve been warned:

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.    John 1:5

But we are still tasked to shine.  Where we are.  In unison.  To be seen from “orbit.” More than that – we should want to without feeling empty and out of touch.

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