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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lighting the Candle

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth, and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

It was remembered as “the dark day” in colonial America, May 19, 1780. It began as a bright, spring day, and the Connecticut legislature in session at Harford was able to go about its work by the natural light of the sun. But at midday something unexpected happened; there was an eclipse of the sun and everything turned to darkness. People thought it was the Second Coming of Christ, and wanted to pray and get ready for His Coming. Timothy Dwight, the later President of Yale, leaves us record of the event:

“A very general opinion prevailed that the day of judgment was at hand. The house of representatives, being unable to transact their business adjourned. A proposal to adjourn the council [a second legislative body called the Governor’s Council] was under consideration. When the opinion of Colonel Davenport was asked, he answered, ‘I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment; if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles be brought.”

Men who looked for Christ’s promised Coming went back to their work. John Greenleaf Whittier, in his poem, “Abraham Davenport”, celebrated Colonel Davenport’s resolve to be found faithful until Christ’s Coming:

This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come…
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles. And they brought them in.

In today’s Scripture text the Apostle Paul calls for Christians to do the Lord’s work until he comes. We who once were in darkness are to live as “children of the light”. We are to “find out what pleases the Lord” and to do that today. This is what my Sunday School teacher taught us through the old spiritual: “This little light of mine/I’m going to let it shine/ Let it shine till Jesus comes/I’m gonna let it shine”.

Bring in the candles!




Loving God, we thank you for the light you bring to our lives each day. Even in the darkness you shine your light upon us. We pray that today your Spirit would so illuminate and empower us that we might shine for you. Amen.

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