At the presidential inauguration, America’s youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman recited a beautiful and hopeful poem, concluding with images of seeing and being the light. As I reflected on these last lines, my thoughts went to my own youthful days at summer camp walking through the dark to the evening bonfire. The path was neither paved nor well-lit, but it was punctuated by pools of light cast by campers’ flashlights. Those that had forgotten theirs or didn’t own a flashlight were naturally attracted to those who did. And it was customary to hold the flashlight above our heads so that the circle of light would widen, illuminating the way for those walking beside and behind. By sharing our light, even those who walked in the darkness were not hopelessly lost. Eventually, all would find their way to the roaring fire where our flashlights were no longer needed.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14-16), Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Walk with your light held high for those who walk beside you. Walk with your light held high for those who follow you as you follow Christ. Walk with your light held high for those still in darkness, so that they may, too, find their way into the light.