Volume 34, No. 4
This Little Light of Mine, Royal Lane Is Gonna Let It Shine
When Annaleigh was two and three years old, I had the joy and responsibility of putting her to bed because Amanda was taking care of our newborn daughter, Beatrice. Annaleigh and I would sing several children’s songs and then end with “Jesus Loves Me.” That was our prayer together in the evenings, that Jesus would indeed reveal his love for us. One of the other songs we would sing was “This Little Light of Mine.” Annaleigh would do all of the hand motions, waving her little finger high in the air.
The lectionary scripture several weeks ago was Jesus calling his first disciples while quoting the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah proclaimed, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, in them light as shined.” For those new followers of Jesus, it was important that they not only see the light of God in and through Jesus, but to lean into their new responsibility as followers of Jesus to be little lights in the world. That is why I preached about the story of the people in the mountains of Switzerland who brought their lights to the small, isolated church and then streamed their little lights out onto the mountainside. Pastor Laura also spoke of Babs Arnswald and how she would teach all of the kids of Royal Lane “This Little Light of Mine.” Babs was a shining light, a beacon of love, presence, and grace for the children.
We had a new member join several Sundays ago, Cheryle Green. If you haven’t made the connection yet, Cheryle is friends with Dianna Stouffer. Dianna and Cheryle worked together in the school system with Babs. Babs made a huge impact on both of their lives. Through Babs’s light and Dianna’s light, Cheryle came to Royal Lane and met each and every one of you. Cheryle joined the church and has now added her little light to our lights already in this church. And you know what? All of our little lights together at Royal Lane are setting this church ablaze with the power of God as we send out people on fire into our city to bring God’s love, reconciliation, and hope to all.
I want to remind you, as we do the work of the church in this new year, that the things we do here at Royal Lane matter to one another and they matter in this city. We are the lights for those in this place who might feel dim and depressed. Some days our lights feel like mere flickers and we don’t know how we could possibly go on. That is when we should lean into one another, our deacon ministry groups, our church friends, our worship, and our scriptures. Once we rekindle our hearts, we are to be the light for those sitting in the darkness of oppression and hopelessness in this city. We not only awaken our lights here in this place but we bring a burning and bright change to a hurting world.
The light of Royal Lane matters in this city. Your light matters in this congregation. And I am eager for us, in this new year, to continue to have our little lights grow in the warmth of Christ’s love as we shine our little lights and illuminate our world. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, this new year and every day.