February Newsletter Article
“In the same way, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
I remember coming across this verse as a teenager and instantly loving it. For me, this verse told me that the light of God was in me, shining out. And yet, at the same time, this verse frightened me a little bit. For a shy, introverted teenager the thought of shining out and attracting attention scared the dickens out of me. But I still liked this verse, and even used it as my confirmation verse. Because it reminded me that the light does not come from being and doing good. It is through what I do that shows God’s light shining within me. And light is meant to be shone. It would not make any sense to turn on a lamp and then through a blanket over it.
And yet, that is what we so often do. In this extended season of Epiphany, the season of light, we are reminded that it is not darkness that we are really afraid of. It’s the light. Darkness is comfortable – it covers a multitude of sins. It gives us an excuse to NOT to live into who God is calling us to be. But, as Marianne Williamson wrote in her poem “Our Deepest Fear:”
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
This year, in the New Jersey Synod’s yearly February retreat for high school youth at LBI, the theme is “Mine” – the fact that we belong to God enables us to navigate an often scary and unsafe world, knowing that our God walks with us. Each of our young people are lights shining out in the darkness every day, in the midst of bullying, drugs and alcohol, challenges at home or school, navigating social media, and growing into who God has created them to be. And they need our support and example now more than ever.
We too can let our light shine into the darkness that is in our own lives and in the lives of others. It does not have to be complicated or heroic. Just the normal, regular, everyday light-shining of love will do.
Here is the entire poem: