Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Re-Launch of "Let's Go Light our World."

After returning to Washington, DC three months ago after a two week intercultural immersion on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I have had this sense and nudging to get back to blogging again.  I have found myself hooked on a soon to be colleague's blog and have other friends who blog regularly, so why not try to get back into the swing of things.  I also find it a great spiritual discipline where I can share my random ramblings, thoughts on the world, thoughts on God/theology, health/self-care, and the like.  I actually began a blog on WordPress under this title and after reflecting further on my time in Pine Ridge and encountering extreme poverty and poverty in general, thought that a re-launch of "Let's Go Light our World" was in order.

A lot of the inspiration for "Let's Go Light Our World" came five years ago when I still worked at Raley's in the guest service counter at the North Highlands location (until its closure in 2012) and would have many a conversation with the security guard at the bank that was in our store.  While he and I were on opposite sides of the political/social spectrum, we actually had some great conversations both in front of the counter and in the breakroom upstairs.  But a remark about faith got me thinking that I need to show this guy what faith and hope can do, not that it was some fleeting fantasy.  At the same time, we were also in the midst of one of the worst economic collapses since the Great Depression and was also a time when my call to ordained ministry really began burning within me.  There was not a whole lot to be hopeful about and it was downright easy to be angry with the world.  I know I had my moments as well.  Considering that I'm not exactly the eternal optimist and can be downright cynical at times, also used a blog about hope, light, and faith as a means of challenging myself to see the world through a different lens.  It's kind of like trying to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, something I am continuing to strive towards even amidst falling short here and there. 

I also gained inspiration for a blog about spreading light and hope to the world through Chris Rice's song, "Go Light Your World" which you can listen to here.  I also get inspiration from the Gospel of John, particularly John 8: 12, which says, "Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (NRSV).  But after five years of some profound experiences which included leaving Raley's after nine years, moving to Washington, DC, enrolling at Wesley Theological Seminary, and beginning the candidacy process for elder in The United Methodist Church, hearing these words of Jesus and seeing dark places in other locations and places from where I knew gives me a renewed sense of the need for all of us to BE the light of Christ in our world even more than ever. 

I can't say that everything is perfect and that the way is clear, because it is definitely far from it.  Life is still messy, and there are still places of darkness.  In which we need the light more than ever.  So what does it mean to be the light of Christ?  I think one of the places I start with is this poem by Howard Thurman:

The Work of Christmas
Howard Thurman 

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart (source: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/8598/now-the-work-of-christmas-begins).

Although we are now in the season of Easter, the work of Christmas is just as important as well.  It's time for us to be peacemakers, to look for solutions, even being the solutions.  It's time to follow, walk in the light of Christ, and BE the light of Christ as we go and light the darkest places of our world. 

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