Faith Matters

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Let Your Light So Shine

By Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee

“Hey, man… got a light?”  No smoking.  No kidding. 

“Sure, I got a light! I’m gonna let it shine today!”

When an infant, a child or an adult is baptized in the congregation I serve a lit candle is presented to the baptismal candidate along with Jesus’ own words… “Let your light so shine before others so that they will see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).  It is both a holy and prophetic moment wrapped in eternal implications.  Then that infant, child or adult is presented publicly to the congregation and given a word of welcome into the body of Christ, as her newest participant, by all who are present.  It’s a matter of faith for all the coming days as, well you know, faith matters.

Christians don’t always agree on the form of baptism… sprinkling, pouring or dunking… the centuries have proven that… but all Christians agree that baptism’s power is rooted in the promise and power of the Word of God as the church does professes often that Jesus is that Word of God… the one who became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth.  It’s the story we just finished celebrating this past Christmas and remains the story Christians tell that no other faith lays claim to… that is… God came to the world in human form… flesh and blood to show humanity the true way to a life that is abundant.  The catch is the abundance comes by giving your life away and sometimes that takes a lifetime to perfect!

Does everyone have a light?  Jesus said we do.  I’m gonna go with that even though it may take a while for any one of us to discover that we do… Frederick Buechner made this comment about light and baptism…

Question: How about infant baptism? Shouldn’t you wait until the child grows up enough to know what’s going on?

Answer: If you don’t think there is as much of the less-than-human in an infant as there is in anybody else, you have lost touch with reality.

When it comes to the forgiving and transforming love of God, one wonders if the six-week-old screecher knows all that much less than the archbishop of Canterbury about what’s going on.”

So, if baptism bestows light and is also God’s gift… then that’s something we all need.  Besides… we don’t withhold food and water from our babies because they don’t understand nutrition or digestion.  So there… the light then is about God and that’s a light that changes things!

One of the first church songs I learned as child was … “This Little Light of Mine” … written for children in the 1920s by Harry Dixon Loes and by the 1960’s became a marching tune for the Civil Rights movement.  Its verses tell the story of faith… that God’s love shines in us all…

This little light of mine…

                        I’m gonna let it shine…

Jesus gave this light to me…

                       I’m gonna let it shine…

Hide it under a bushel… NO!

                       I’m gonna let it shine…

Everywhere I go… I’m gonna let it shine…

Everyone has a light to shine.  The world needs the light!  Let yours shine today!

Brian Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland and the lead pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Pearland. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi. Comments and questions can be sent to [email protected].

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