In many rural districts in India there is no electricity. In a small village in one such district there is a temple where people gather after dark to pray. Inside the temple a beam stretches across the width of the sanctuary, and along the length of the beam runs a row of brass hooks. As the worshippers walk to the temple in the darkness, each one carries a lantern to light his or her way. When they enter the darkened temple, they hang their lanterns one by one on the hooks on the crossbeam. With each lantern that is hung, the sanctuary slowly lights up. Soon, it is ablaze with light, because each worshipper has added his or her own bit of light.
And it is a wonderful image of how it is with a church. When we each add our bit of light, give ourselves in some way, we are soon ablaze with the light of Christ. But it depends on each of us bringing the light we have, the light we are, and offering ourselves in some way — joining our light to the light of others, so that together we shine bright with Christ.
Just a few weeks ago we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. One author has said that the best evidence for the truthfulness of the resurrection is not an empty tomb or a well-orchestrated Easter pageant, but a group of people whose life together is so radically different from the way the world builds a community that the only explanation is that something decisive happened in history. In other words, the truth of the resurrection is seen in people who look and act resurrected, who live with true generosity and bold love — people in whom Christ lives and can be seen.
When we are generous and bold, when we each in whatever way we are able bring and offer our love and time and resources and very selves, we are ablaze with Christ and people know Christ has risen. As we serve in our community ministries we bring light into the darkness of despair; as we respond with compassion and are a friend to others, we brighten their lives; as we worship and learn and help out in some small way, the congregation grows brighter with hope. The bit of light we each of us has makes a powerful difference.
God knows, we live in a world in desperate need for light. Add your bit of light. In the power of the resurrection, let us
together burn bright with love and hope and faith.
God be with you,