by Rev. Cynthia Weems, FUMC Miami, FL
First, read John 1:5
A clergy colleague of mine shared this delightful prayer request that he received in church the Sunday after Nelson Mandela died last year: “Please help Mr. Nelson Mandela fit in at heaven. Thank you for him.” My colleague then commented, “I think he’s fitting in just fine...”
Over the last year we have been impacted by the death of Mr. Nelson Mandela. He represented an amazing life as well as an amazing time in world history. Most of us experienced this life from a distance, yet we know we are very much a part of the struggle, the complexity, the tension, and the celebration that surrounds this man and his legacy. Indeed, we and our children will very much be a part of his ultimate legacy in the larger global community.
Our scripture from the gospel of John tells us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” The darkness in our world includes uncertainty, pain, evil, fear, and injustice. John writes as if the light to come will be that much more profound due to the settling darkness that has enveloped humanity and creation.
Light does that, doesn’t it? It exposes the dark places and sheds light on what attempts to be hidden. We have experienced this, I believe, in the magnificent lives of great men and women who have lived lives of light, often exposing the darkness of injustice and hate by sharing light and love and hope in our midst.
We remember this Advent the lives of “great” human beings as well as lives of sisters and brothers in our very community who anticipate the coming of Christ by “being the light” that Christ shines through each of us. A light that overcomes the darkness. Might we all shine the light of Christ a little brighter today.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
In the next few evenings, our usually dark neighborhood streets transform house-by-house into a wonderland of twinkling lights and other light-up yard decorations. Even if it is just one or two houses in our area, the whole feel of the neighborhood changes. In our daily scripture it says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Shine your light into the darkness by putting up a few (or more) strands of twinkly lights in your yard. As people drive by your home, they will know you are celebrating something special. After you are done, bring a blanket outside and sit back to admire your work.
What other things can we do to shine the light of Jesus in a dark world?