On Light and Lighthouses

NEEDTOBREATHE is my favorite band. Hands down. So, I’m going to do something I haven’t done yet since I’ve started blogging. I’m going to ask you to listen to the following song, “Brother,” (just click on the word) before you read the rest of this post (make sure to crank up the volume, and clap along if the Spirit leads. Sing as loud as you want, even if you’re off-key. Don’t worry, I can’t hear you from here).

Did you catch this line?

Everybody needs someone beside ’em//Shining like a lighthouse from the sea.

For centuries, lighthouses have guided many a frazzled sailor to safe harbor. Standing like sentries, lighthouses are built to withstand the onslaught of both wind and waves, their bright lights warning of danger, pointing the way home.

As the guys of NEEDTOBREATHE so eloquently put it:

Brother let me be your shelter//I’ll never leave you all alone//I can be the one you call//When you’re low//Brother let me be your fortress//When the night winds are driving on//Be the one to light the way//Bring you home.

Everyone needs a lighthouse.

This truth has especially been impressed upon me this week, not only by news media headlines, but also by family and friends who are struggling and suffering.

This earth is not heaven. That’s for sure.

Lighthouses are beacons of hope. They pierce the darkness, letting frightened sailors know that they are not alone, showing them they way they should go.

As a follower of Jesus, I am called to be a lighthouse.

I cannot be a lighthouse on my own, however. I need the Light to light my light.

In the beginning of his gospel, the apostle John writes,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.                                                               John 1:1-9

Life and light go hand in hand.

This is something early sailors understood (Hmm. Maybe they understood theology more than we care to realize). Darkness=death. Light=life.

Out on the open seas, with howling wind and angry waves, a lighthouse meant all the difference between life and death. A successful voyage, and a failed one.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the only one who can turn the darkness into light. He actually transforms it (see Psalm 18:28).

And let me tell you if you haven’t figured this out already: this world is full of darkness.

Sin. Struggle. Suffering.

It can seem overwhelming.

When I begin to think that the Darkness is winning the battle, I remember the apostle John’s words:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.        John 1:5

Back to the lighthouse analogy.

Choosing to follow Jesus means that I have a Light. But not only do I have a Light, but I am now a conduit of Light.

He is the Light. I am the house.

Before you start thinking I’m getting a little too new-agey, let me explain.

Or rather, I’ll let Jesus explain.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.                                                                                                             Matthew 5:14-16

Those who have chosen to follow Jesus have His Light in them by the Holy Spirit.

And, as His followers, we who call ourselves Christians are to shine His light of hope into an extremely dark, chaotic world.

We are called to be lighthouses, to those who are our sisters and brothers in Christ, and those who are not.

My dear reader, if you are not yet a member of Jesus’ family, let the Light guide you home.

And if you are already a part of His family–go be a lighthouse.

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