Tag Archives: light

When Darkness Strikes

It had been quite a project. Our team had been recruited by the Reformed Church in America to engage in a three year process of helping the denomination wrestle with what it means to Reformed and Missional. Members of the team came from every Regional Synod in the RCA, so there were people from the East Coast, the West Coast, and from the Midwest. We enjoyed being together, working together, worshiping together, and praying together. It was a privilege to be a part of it.

The opportunity to relax and celebrate had finally come. So we gathered in a restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan to eat, relax, and laugh a little. We had just been seated and handed menus when the lights went out. And this was not a restaurant with a lot of windows – in fact, it was one of those sporty, dimly lit places to begin with. And now, no lights at all! While we could see each other, we could not see the menus. Since the manager wasn’t initially sure about the cause or extent of the outage, he encouraged us to sit tight, order, and when power came back on they’d be ready to serve us. The plan sounded good except we had no lights by which to read the menus.

Then it hit me – I had a little flashlight on my key chain. (Before you ask – this was pretty much pre-cell phone flashlight days.) By it we could, one or two people at a time, see the menu. I had the light all the time – I just didn’t think to turn it on! I realized then that I need to plug into my memory bank, “When the darkness strikes remember to turn on the light.”

To make a longer story shorter, we never did make our orders and eventually received word that the outage affected a fairly wide area of 28th street. In other words, it could be a while. So we decided to head for another location. But, of course, it was dark and making our way from the table to the exit was somewhat of a risk. So without hesitation I took the lead with ‘this little light of mine’ – this time I was going to let it shine! We all made it out safely. “When the darkness strikes remember to turn on the light.”

We have all experienced times of darkness. I wonder how often we’ve brooded, worried, and perhaps even panicked in our lack of sight when all along all we needed to do was turn on the light. Didn’t Jesus say that he was the light of the world? Didn’t Jesus say you and I are the light of the world? Didn’t Jesus say we are not to hide the light under a bushel? “When the darkness strikes remember to turn on the light.”

In the midst of the darkness, a word from Jesus, a reminder of His presence, can brighten the whole scene – at least enough to make our way forward to the exit. The darkness will not last forever: “the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not (and will not) overcome it.” (John 1:5) So in the meantime, “When the darkness strikes remember to turn on the light.” And let it shine!

Thoughts on Sainthood

I was recently part of a conversation about ‘true saints.’ We acknowledged the fact that for most people, the term ‘saint’ brings to mind either people who are dead or who are alive but are very special because of their deep faith. It got me thinking about the richness of sainthood but also about the lack of understanding of sainthood. Unfortunately that lack of understanding leads to anemic living. That’s why I love the way the apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Philippi.

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:…” (Philippians 1:1 RSV).  Paul is writing to the saints in Philippi – to all the believers in Philippi. The truth is if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a saint. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior and accepted Him as Lord of your life, you are a saint. True sainthood is an assigned designation not an achieved status. It is given, not earned. It is a status for the living not for the dead. When you come to believe in Jesus Christ, you are given the destiny and dignity of being a saint.

And that empowers you vibrant living. It means you are assigned, designated, set apart to glorify Jesus. You simply need to be who you are. In the Old Testament God designated certain things and places as ‘holy’, meaning they were to be used only in sacred ways and for sacred purposes. In the New Testament God designated people as ‘holy’, to live in a sacred way and to be used for sacred purposes. Paul says your permanent address is in Christ Jesus. Your zip code may be Philippi, Corinth, New York City, South Haven, Kalamazoo, or Chicago…it may not be next year what it is today. But your permanent address is in Christ Jesus – it never changes. No matter where you live or how popular you are or are not, you are rooted in Jesus Christ and your identity comes from Him.

It also means you are special and valuable, because God has chosen to have his Son Jesus shine through you. It’s said pictorially in a little poem entitled ‘What Is A Saint?’

“What is a saint?” the youngster asked; So his parents set out to explain.
By describing Saint Francis, and Bernadette They attempted to make it plain.
They told of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and ended with John and Paul;
But the boy just couldn’t relate to this and didn’t grasp it at all.
Then the parents went to their church and showed him The stained glass windows there; The faces of the elect shone out As they preached or knelt in prayer.
The boy was asked if he understood, And he said, “I think I do;
From what I’ve seen, I’d say a saint Is a person the light shines through.”


No matter what others say or think, you are holy, you belong to Jesus Christ and He is wanting to shine His light through you.

I wonder – what if we were all more ‘saintly’ in our living, being the special persons we are. What difference would it make in our lives – and in the lives of those around us – and in our communities – and in our world? I encourage you to embrace your position and identity as a saint – let His light shine through you.