On Mothers’ Day at DCCRC there was a skit in which a couple’s electricity went out. The husband went to the closet for candles and found three (women with paper flames attached to their heads.) As he “lit” them, each turned around and spoke, asking to be left in the closet, giving excuses: the first needed to read and study more about various preparations and methods; the second was too busy meditating, enjoying her inner light; the third trilled her lines melodiously, “My gift is muuusic, not shining.” She got all three singing “This Little Light of Mine” even as he blew each of them out and they turned around. The husband told his wife and they remembered, “Those candles were from a church that was closing.”
Maybe churches that only serve as sanctuaries (reliquaries?) for pious, studious, outstanding people need to close.
Why do we “go” to church, attend or participate in worship services? To feel God’s face shining on us? Yes, but we can realize God’s blessing smile anywhere, anytime we recognize Holy Spirit fire magnifying our little light, anytime people see us reflecting (or see through us to) Jesus, the Light of the World. Hopefully this happens at church, as long as we’re not trying to outshine anyone.
Live music does help. Maybe there’s a connection between light and sound waves? In Mulled Words I recalled several “shine” songs from childhood. The green book, Sing! a new creation, has three contemporary favorites.
First, for a time of confession and assurance of pardon:
See my heart, for I repent; hear my humble plea to renew your covenant. Jesus, shine on me. In your mercy I implore, make the darkness flee. Heav’nly light upon me pour. Jesus, shine on me. New beginnings light my way toward eternity. Lead me in your light today. Jesus, shine on me. Shine on me, shine on me; Jesus, shine on me. Through the darkness of my heart, Jesus, shine on me.
For Epiphany Season (also on Fr. Tom Ryan’s yoga prayer DVD):
Blest are they, the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God. Blest are they, full of sorrow, they shall be consoled. Blest are they, the lowly ones, — they shall inherit the earth. Blest are they who hunger and thirst, — they shall have their fill. Blest are they who show mercy, mercy shall be theirs. Blest are they, the pure of heart, — they shall see God. Blest are they who seek peace. They are the children of God. Blest are they who suffer in faith, — the glory of God is theirs. Blest are you who suffer hate, all because of me. Rejoice and be glad, yours is the kingdom; shine for all to see. Rejoice! and be glad, blessed are you, holy are you, rejoice! and be glad! Yours is the kingdom of God.
And finally, also for Epiphany, a great praise song:
Lord, the light of your love is shining in the midst of the darkness, shining. Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us; set us free by the truth you now bring us: Shine on me. Lord, I come to your awesome presence, from the shadows into your radiance; by the blood I may enter your brightness; search me, try me, consume all my darkness: Shine on me. As we gaze on your kingly brightness, so our faces display your likeness, ever changing from glory to glory, mirrored here may our lives tell your story: Shine on me, shine on me. Shine, Jesus, shine, fill the land with the Father’s glory. Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy. Send forth your Word, Lord, and let there be light!