The Gospel writer we call Mark is throwing a whole lot of "sayings of Jesus" at us right now. Our selection for today begins with the phrases Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lamp stand? A rhetorical question, one of the many Jesus is so fond of asking his disciples, and us. This idea of light is drawing my attention today.
I have recently relocated out of an urban area and into a far suburb, in the midst of farming country. Having spent in excess of a quarter of a century living in an urban environment, there are many things that are tangibly different about my life right now. One of those is the specter and type of light that permeates my life. In the urban areas where I have lived so much of my adult life, it never gets truly dark: there is always some light. But up here in the country, wow, it gets really dark when there is no moon, or it is covered by clouds.
So, tangibly, this pithy lesson from Jesus today about hiding light has taken on a different meaning for me then it has in the past. And that has gotten me thinking metaphorically: what do we take for granted in our lives? Once a change happens and those "things" are no longer a regular part of our life, do we find ourselves noticing the change, the loss of something that was always present? Moving beyond that, perhaps one of the concepts Jesus is pushing us toward is that light that belongs on the lamp stand could possibly be us, lighting the way for others to find the love we have discovered. Just as likely, that light could be, and is, God's love for each and every one of us.
We may think we are living in darkness, away from that light, perhaps not deserving of that light's love. But we are deserving of it and we are never far from it. That light cannot be hidden, no matter how many bushel baskets we pile on top to try and obscure its presence, or for how long we have taken that embrace for granted. It is there for us, no matter what. Picking up that lamp and holding it high is something to think about doing today.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Sunset in SW, 2010, MH Jarvis.