LIGHTING THE CANDLE
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the dark world. Live as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, and find out what pleases the Lord.
It is remembered as “the dark day” in the newly formed America: May 19, 1790. It began as a bright spring day, and the Connecticut state legislature at Hartford was about to begin its work by the natural light of the sun. But right at midday, something unforeseen happened; an eclipse of the sun began turning the daylight into darkness. People thought it was Christ’s second coming! They wanted to pray and get ready for His appearing! Timothy Dwight, who later became the esteemed President of Yale, spoke on record:
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.”
People who had lived and looked for Christ’s promised coming went back to work. John Greenleaf Whittier, in his poem, “Abraham Davenport”, celebrates Colonel Davenport’s resolve to be found faithful at 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 comes…
Let God do His work, we will do ours.
Bring in the candles. And they brought them in.
In today’s scripture the apostle Paul calls for Jesus’ followers to do the Lord’s work until He comes. We who were “once darkness” are to live responsibly as “children of light”. Paul says we must be eager to “find out what pleases the Lord”, and do it. That is the good theology my Sunday School teacher taught us to sing: “This little light of mine/I’m going to let it shine/ till Jesus comes back/I’m going to let it shine.”
So, bring in the candles! Lighten the darkness!
PALMS DOWN/PALMS UP
Loving God, we thank you for the light you have shined into our darkness. We pray that today your Spirit would illumine our way, and enlighten and empower us to be your lights in the world until Christ comes. Amen.