We’re enjoying a tantalizing taste of fall this weekend. A cool front has initiated some dipping temperatures and the relief from a steady sequence of near 100 degree readings and high humidity is palpable. The contrast is refreshing. Already I’m daydreaming of sweaters on the golf course, cuddling on the back porch with a lap blanket, and the scent of burning wood from warming fires in nearby chimneys.

Contrast is a good way of understanding Christ’s command to be light. Webster’s defines dark as “having little or no light.” Light illuminates quite simply because it is the opposite of dark; luminescence is not a little different, it is antithetical to shadows. I can’t help but ask if I am a cool front to anyone’s emotional and spiritual climate. Do I leave a respite that lingers when people brush up against me? Am I an obvious contrast to the shadowy nature of contemporary culture and that which masquerades as acceptable? “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” (Plato).

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV)

What some might miss is that Christ’s statement about being light is an imperative. The Greek word is lampsato. Illumination for believers is never optional; according to Jesus, our light must shine. In light of this (pun intended) I question myself, does my participation in the human race brighten any corner of the marathon?

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