Hide it under a bushel, NO!
by Mary Kate Hipp
In today's reading, we find Jesus employing a plethora of parables to the crowd gathered around the Galilean region during His Sermon on the Mount. One parable, in particular, tells of seemingly common knowledge: if you have a light, shine it.
Most of us have heard this since our Sunday school days, "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!... Hide it under a bushel, NO! I'm gonna let it shine!" But how many of us put this catchy song to practice? Perhaps we do not intentionally shield our light, but we are all guilty of concealing our light at one point or another.
In this day and age, I do not blame you for hiding your light. Perhaps you're scared that if you shine your light, you will be labeled insensitive, a bigot, unloving, a hypocrite, fill in the blank. But if you are truly shining the light of Christ, you are radiating first and foremost the love of the Gospel. The light which dwells in us is not of personal (or Christian) creation. This light marks us by the cross. Only by the blood of Jesus do we bear this light. This light resembles hope, love, joy, and peace. This light is not our own. It bears the Gospel and who are we to conceal it? Who are we to be ashamed of it? Who are we to assume someone else will shine their light?
Hear this example: Have you ever been in a situation where you go to take a picture and the flash of your camera accidentally goes off? Suddenly, everyone in the room is looking at you, the silly goose who used their flash. Sometimes, the way in which we carry our light of Christ resembles this scenario. Seldom do we shine it, when we do, we try to conceal it as soon as it is revealed, and then act ashamed. Oh Child of God, why are you ashamed to shine your light? Why are you so quick to conceal it? We do not live in a world where metaphorical flash photography is prohibited.
I am a chronic over-sharer. When something exciting happens in my life, I simply must tell everyone that will listen. Got an A on a paper? Everyone must know. Hiked a beautiful mountain? I have already sent pictures to half of my phone contacts. Said a funny joke? I already retold it on my Instagram. When good things happen, I want others to delight and share in my joy! Let this be the same cry of my heart about sharing the Gospel--shining my light. Far be it from me, from us, to contain the goodness of the light! Let us shine from the top of a mountain! Let us shine from behind our cubicle/office, for when we care for our (grand)children, let us shine in the Starbucks line, on the highway, in school, with family, HIDE IT UNDER A BUSHEL, NO!
In this season of advent, as candles are lit from the Christ candle all around the world, may we be filled with the light of Christ. May we also go on to share the light of Christ. May the world be ablaze with the light of Christ.
O Light of the World,
You amaze us. Thank You for sharing Your light with us. We praise You for rescuing us from the darkness. We rejoice that Your coming Light meant You refused to leave us in our sin and darkness. Jesus, ignite the flame in our hearts once again to long to share Your Word, Your Light.
*Photo from the descent of Mt. Hippos overlooking the Sea of Galilee as the sun rose and the lights lit the landscape. This is the probable mountain in view during the original telling of this parable.