In an column in the current issue of America magazaine titled Light Switch, Margaret Silf (who I love) quotes Helen Prejean saying, “When I light a candle at midnight, I say to the darkness: ‘I beg to differ.'”
Light is a powerful symbol for us. Some of our ancestors entered New York Harbor and, seeing the light from the Statue of Liberty, would realize they had reached the end of a long journey. A lone traveler on a dark road is comforted by the present of a light up ahead that tells him he has found a place of rest. Many light a candle before beginning prayer, a tangible reminder of the presence of God who is always with us.
As Christians, we need to ask ourselves not merely how we will light our own little space, but how will we be light to the world. How will we bring the ligth of Christ to all those we meet? For surely, the world needs our light. As Margaret Silf writes:
The light is more needed than ever in our world today. The dark night seems to enshroud us and the storm clouds gather. How will that light shine in our own dark streets? We may bless the candles in church, but unless we carry the light out into a troubled world, the blessing will never be effective.
As Silf goes on to observe, we can be light-bearers in many different ways, large and small. The important thing is that we “pause and ponder any situations in which we might ourselves choose to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.”