“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly.'” Leviticus 24:1-4
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden… Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” “You shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life… in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.” Matthew 5:14,16; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 2:15-16
I watched in sad horror at the images on the screen of the magnificent, centuries-old Notre Dame burning, stricken at the ruin of such a lovely masterpiece of sacred architecture, sadder still at the sense of worship lost to the burn of worldliness. When God instructed Moses to keep lamps burning continually in the tabernacle, He was reminding them that His constant flaming presence in their worship, their lives, required maintenance and commitment. Our LORD does not change in His holiness and glory, yet we can easily crowd Him out by building edifices to ourselves and other things we value more than Him, and His light gets snuffed out, the outstanding steeple rising high to the sky, pointing us to heaven, falls to get lost in the sea of our horizontal culture.
Many cathedrals today are hollow repositories for relics and wonder and tourist observation, but no true worship. Their lofty arches, domes, spires designed to raise our sights and affections, their very cross shape to unite us toward the altar, hold beauty that today feeds curiosity and spectating more than inspiring humility and gratitude. The spirit has burned out and vacated the premises, and we are left to bear God’s light. But that is a high and happy calling we should be eager to obey.
If God’s light has shone in my heart, giving me understanding and the joy of salvation, and my body is His temple, my assignment His ambassador, where and how am I shining? What holy light do I bring to conversation and deliberation, to the church on Sunday mornings, and the workplace during the week? Where am I being the church, the arms and hands of Christ, to my world, standing out like a steeple among low-faced living, limited aspirations, meaningless occupation of time? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:18,20)
Lord, as Your light-bearer, let me shine so bright that I bear Your flame in every room, connection, effort, and show You off. Keep my heart ever before Your altar, and Your light burning with Your glory in and through me wherever I am.