Be the light! JillWellington@Pixabay
Literally and figuratively, it’s grim. Today marks day #8 of smoky air and low visibility because of the Oregon fires. You know it’s bad when you’ve downloaded two air quality apps on your phone. You know it’s bad when you’re excited that your city has been downgraded from “if you go outside, you’ll die” to “if you go outside, maybe you’ll die.”
The fires are personal because they have decimated towns just 20 miles east of Salem. Everyone here knows someone or knows someone who knows someone who’s had a place burn down. This in the midst of COVID-19. This in the midst of civil unrest. This in the midst of little things to make one reach a tipping point: on Monday we learned that our beloved 25-foot apple tree is on its last legs and today our dear 12-year old black Lab is sick and we don’t know what’s wrong. Did I mention that it’s grim out there?
The other night during our Zoom Monday School Class on “Race, Racism and the Legal System,” I read aloud one of my favorite verses from The Message:
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand…Keep open house; be generous with your lives. (Matthew 5:14-16)
It seems a nearly impossible task but, even through grim times, God calls us to bring out the God-colors in the world. We are to be generous with our lives…no matter what we “feel.”
To be generous with our lives means being lavish with our time, talents, and treasure. Sometimes treasure is the best (and only) thing that we can give. People who have lost everything in the fires – a number who were already on the margins and uninsured – need a way to rebuild. They need an immediate place to stay. That all costs money. Looking for a way to respond? Bring out the God-colors and give to one of these trusted organizations:
Oregon-Idaho UMC Disaster Relief
Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund
American Red Cross
United Methodist Committee on Relief
We who have not lost everything don’t have the luxury of “hiding our lamps under a bushel.” It’s time to get out there and spread those God-colors near and far.
And, if you need an additional boost (and who doesn’t these days?) here’s a little ditty you might recognize from long ago: You are the Light of the World. It will be a welcomed earworm. Be well friends, stay safe.