The Right Direction of Love and Light
For those of us living in Texas, this past week has been absolutely exhausting. Even as I sit here now, I feel as though I could sleep a week. The winter storm that crippled the state, left many of us without power, and in my house, we were without water for five days.
One of the many things that I was struck by during the entire ordeal was how so many neighbors and communities came together to help one another. My church had a long list of people who were willing to take in people who were without power.
Others checked on our most vulnerable members repeatedly to ensure they were okay. We even had a roster of folks who were willing to drive their 4x4 vehicles on the icy roads to retrieve people, deliver groceries or respond to emergencies.
I heard from more than one member about how their neighbors checked on them and even took them into their homes. Groups of neighbors pooled their resources when they were running out of water, and some of them organized neighborhood cookouts with their gas grills when they had no power.
In spite of the stress of the last year, the global pandemic, all of the unrest, uncertainty, and worry that permeates our culture, it's wonderful to see that there are still so many of us who haven't lost sight of our shared humanity, and who still know how to love.
I read this awesome quote from the philosopher Alan Watt, and it speaks to what I'm feeling this morning:
There is no problem of how to love. We love. We are love, and the only problem is the direction of love, whether it is to go straight out like sunlight, or to try to turn back on itself like a ‘candle under a bushel.’
The "problem" of the direction of our love is something that we all have to answer. It comes down to a simple question: Will you hide the light of your love or will you let it shine for all the world to see?
Watt references a passage of Scripture where Jesus exhorts his followers to shine their light, to love in such a way that people see and experience that love as the very love of God. He told them:
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. (Matthew 5:15-17, NIV)
This past week I saw so many examples of people directing their love "straight out like sunlight," as they gave of themselves and what they had in service to others. It was amazing to experience, quite honestly. And in the midst of my own struggles and stress, it gave me hope.
The examples of people shining the light of their love straight out away from themselves far outnumbered the examples of those who chose another direction. This is the kind of thing that renews your faith in humanity and warms your heart during even the coldest days.
It's easy to see the difference that directing the light of our love outward into the world can make. In fact, it makes all the difference in the world.
May you not only experience the light of love from others today... may you also send your light in the right direction as well. May you know what it means to give love and feel love. May you never hide your light from the world---rather may you share it as freely as it has been given from the Source of all love, who loved us (and all of Creation) and gave himself for us.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.