Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hidden Lamps

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:21-21

Years ago, when we live in Baltimore and Emily was an infant, I worked for my landlady in her lamp shade shop. We made hand made paper lamps of all sorts, a specialty even then, and the shop was frequented by wealthy folks wanting all of their decor to match and each room's theme be clear. It was meticulous work, and I wasn't very good at it but I learned a lot about shades and light. And what people consider beautiful and how that is dictated by culture and class. People were hiding their lamps under elaborate understated shades, as to seem not so wealthy, not so opulent, not so over indulgent as they really were. I knew that just a few blocks away from the shop and their homes, there were people who were desperate for light and heat. And any lamp would do, if they could but see at night and have electricity.

We hear many stories in this season, the parables drawing pictures with words to explain God's reign. We are reminded that God desire that we shine, that what we do should bring light and life to others. And we are invited to cast off the darkness that holds us back - fear, jealousy, embarrassment, shame, lack of self worth - and to use all the gifts and light we have for the blessing of the world around us. Too many people hold back their light for fear of criticism. God reminds us that the world aches for light, especially in this season when the winter has been so long and so dark.

Today, I want to revel in the light of God and in the gifts of others. I am surrounded and blessed by such a wonderful community, a wonderful family, and friends all around the world. The hold their lamps high when others let them burn out with neglect. They share the light and the world is a better place because of them. May we all let our light shine, so that the world might warm with compassion, and God's light shine through us this day.

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