I loved doing the lesson on light. Put some shiny objects, wrapped sweets, fun stuff, in a shoe box. Cut a small hole one end of the box, and cover the top with a single layer of tissue paper. Then put the lid on the box. Have the kids look through the hole into the box – what can they see? Nothing. Take the lid off the box, and look in again – tada! The light enters through the tissue paper, and the secret world of that box is revealed. It was all there before, but not visible without the light.
I find it interesting in Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus told his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” Not A light. THE light. How does that work with a dozen of them? Was he just talking collectively? And there again, a little later he said that he himself was the light of the world (John 8:12). One thing is clear, Jesus thought the world was a pretty dark place. It needed light. It needed light for people to see their way. And it needed light for people to see things as they really were. The problems, the hypocrisy, the hollowness of religiosity were being shown up by the clear, pure, love of this straight-speaking preacher.
Think of the lamps they used. Clay vessel filled with oil with a burning wick. Which bit is the light? In one sense, all of it – none of the components work alone. But in actual fact, the light is the energy emitted by the burning of the oil. His is the energy expressed in us. And naturally, the fuel, the oil, is the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Maybe I should get out more, but I was fascinated to read that wick-trimming is quite an art form. Cutting it just right makes a huge difference to the efficiency of the lamp, to achieve a pure, bright light, without too much smoke. Keeping our lives right, with sin quickly dealt with is essential to shining brightly in this dark world.
The kids in my class were always excited to see what was inside my box, letting the light in to reveal the treasures. Shining brightly will draw attention from others. It illuminates our own life first. Will what they see cause them to give glory to God? We’d best keep those wicks well trimmed!