There Is Always Light

Earlier this week when I was watching the Inauguration, and I heard Amanda Gorman, the nation's first youth poet laureate, read her poem The Hill We Climb,  I got emotional.  

It started with a huge lump in my throat that turned into full-fledged ugly crying as she read the last line:  

When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.

If you have been a regular reader of the Daily Devos over the past several years, you know I love a good poem.  When you want to truly capture the essence of a feeling in ways that transcend dry-as-toast explanations... you need a poet to do it properly.  

There was so much I loved about that last line because it spoke to a hopeful future beyond all of the deep, fissures, and great gulfs that have been created between us and our fellow citizens in recent years.  

The light we seek to lead us forward into a new day just might be found in one another.  But it takes courage to see it.  And it takes courage to let our own light shine, to live into the hope of what it means to truly shine.  

I am reminded now of another poetic line, only this one came from Jesus himself:  

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus simply states that the light of God is within each of us, but it is entirely up to us whether we will share it or hide it.  And if we choose to hide it, we not only do a disservice to ourselves, but also to the world.  

We hide our light for so many terrible reasons: fear, self-doubt, bitterness, wrong-headed belief... the list is long and shadow-driven.  And none of those reasons bring shalom to the world in the way that God would have us bring shalom. 

Some of us choose to hide our light because we don't feel like the light of God ought to shine on certain people---particularly those with whom we have deep disagreements.  We don't want those people to find the light, to discover grace.  

I grew up in a world filled with this kind of light-hiding.  We divided the world into "saved" and "lost," "believers" and "non-believers."  True confession: I sometimes have a hard time believing light can shine on those who I perceive are still trapped in that shadowy mindset.  

I have to constantly be reminded of the folly of this way of thinking.  

I've written about this here before, but the thing about light is that it shines the same for those who want to step toward it, as it does for those who prefer to stand in the shadow.  The light of God does not discriminate, and neither should God's light-bearers. 

Here's something else about the light of God... it's revealing.  When we are unafraid of shining our light, we can be certain that all will be revealed in time.  The way will be illuminated.  The truth will be known---the truth about us, others, and the world around all of us.

We can't be afraid of what the light will show us, and what it reveals about the way we have been seeing the world heretofore. And we have to also be willing to own what it reveals about ourselves, and who we are.  

Now more than ever the world needs those of us who claim to be followers of Christ to stop hiding the light within us.  Now more than ever the world needs to know that the light of God is for everyone, everywhere... not just the fortunate few.  

Now more than ever the world needs to know that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it---especially when we are brave enough to rise and shine together.  
May you shine your light today and every day going forward.  Don't hide it.  Let it shine and be brave about what it shows you.  Welcome everyone into the warmth of that light---even yourself. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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