By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Abraham Lincoln once told the story of a backwoods traveler lost in a terrific thunderstorm. The rider floundered through the mud until his horse gave out. Then he stood alone in the middle of the road while lightning streaked and thunder roared around him. One crash seemed to shake the earth underneath, but he made a petition short and to the point: “0 Lord, if it is all the same to you, give us a little more light and a little less noise.”
One of the B.C. Transit Advertisements that always impressed me used to say: “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” The famous musical “Godspell” had a beautiful song entitled: “You are the light of the world!” Whenever I listened to that song, I was reminded that I could make a difference, if I was willing to let my light shine brightly.
The Vancouver Sun told us that Raffi sang “This Little Light of Mine” at a Presidential Inauguration. Once again I was reminded that even though I may feel small and insignificant, my little light can make a difference, if I let it shine. The amazing thing about light bulbs is that no matter how dark the room, once you turn on the light, it always drives out the darkness, Jesus said: Let your light so shine before people that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
The second verse of” This Little Light of Mine” says: “Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine!” This verse is a direct quote from Jesus who said: “… People do not light a lamp and put it under a bushel (bowl). Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to every one in the house.” Jesus is saying that our faith and love is meant to be a light that shines brightly all throughout the whole community.
My Grandmother Olive was the kind of loving neighbour whom people called “the salt of the earth,” Even when she was stuck in a wheelchair, she exuded such love that people flocked to her house from miles around. Grandma always used to tell us about what great neighbours she had. But the truth is that it was her graciousness and love that brought out the best in those around her. Even when she was dying of cancer, she did her best to make others feel welcome. Her physician commented that Grandma made him feel better whenever he came to make a house call. When I gave communion to Grandma just before she died, she prayed with an unforgettable love and depth. Then she turned to me and said: “I’m ready to go. I want to be with Grandpa, my parents, and my good friends. I have such a good family. I love you very much.”
Grandma Hird was truly “the salt of the earth.” Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by people.” Salt adds taste to life. San preserves food from rotting. Salt heals wounds by destroying infections.
I thank God for Grandma Hird who in her own quiet way added taste to life, preserved relationships from rotting, and healed wounds in the hearts of little children. May all of us that seek God’s love become like Saltshakers and Light Bulbs. It is better to pass the salt and light a candle than curse the darkness.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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