by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/27/14
It is always darkest before the dawn, they say. Well, that is not always the case and who are “they,” anyway?
Before we enter the season of dark Lenten reflection, we consider the gospel text for Sunday which lets loose a flash of blinding light. Jesus is transfigured before his disciples. For a moment, God breaks into the world through Jesus, turning up the lumens on what would otherwise be a trio of 40-watt disciples. We still need illumination to see beyond our dim standard-definition images of Jesus, and we need further help still to focus in on our lives with any sense of clarity.
Jesus, who proclaimed, “ I am the light of the world,” says to his disciples, “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” “You are light,” he says. “You are salt.” We say those same words when we baptize new believers. They leave the baptistery with a lit votive candle, as a reminder.
It is a sweet moment. For a second, even I am swept up in the sentimentality of the moment and I am tempted to say, “You are sweet. This is a sweet moment.” But Jesus never said, “You are sugar.” We are called to be more than nice. “Sentimentality is killing the church!” warns Stanley Hauerwas, a rather salty theological ethicist who believes the first task of the church is to be the church that Christ calls into being, a church of salt and light.
Consider how you bear the light during this season. Ironically, my light was rekindled at a performance by Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland fame, when she sang: “So when your heart is heavy like a stone from carrying its load, and you look into the mirror and see someone you don’t know, or when the shadows are closing in on you like a hand around your throat, I will shine the light.”
Let your light shine.