written by the Rev. Liz Goodyear Jones
I live one mile from what is called the Mississippi Sound, which is also the Gulf of Mexico. It’s that part of America that reporters during Katrina, called “the land mass” between New Orleans and Mobile. And it is beautiful. Really, really, beautiful. During our winter months, or should I say days, the shallow Gulf is often a steely gray blue, with gray skies and fog shrouding the sea oats and sand dunes. Still, beautiful.
Very early on Sunday mornings, I head for church on Highway 90 which borders this uniquely exquisite water. Often, there is this moment when I come onto the highway at water’s edge and it is glistening with a shining, glittering light that sparkles like millions of lit up diamonds. It is gorgeous and yet, in the next instance when the sun disappears, it is gray steel and flat water. Nothing to write home about.
I wonder if Jesus in this past Sunday’s Gospel on being shining light, lived near water that makes that remarkable transformation. Because make no mistake about it. He was talking about transformation. The kind of shift from being flat and gray in our living, to literally lighting up ourselves and everyone around us.
I remember once being at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, in the blues tent. The musicians tuned up and started playing; the audience was buzzing and chatting quietly, and it was business as usual. Then this one woman standing up front, began cheering and dancing like it was her last rodeo. Suddenly the people around her stood up too and in the blink of an eye, the whole tent was rocking to the music of Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings. You could hear the fest workers walkie talkies going off, “it’s happening at the blues tent! Get on over!” We went from ho hum to celebration in what felt like 60 seconds. The tent just exploded! People started running to get in and see what was happening.
In our best moments, moments when we’re really creating it all, that’s pretty much what can happen. People running towards the light to become a part of it all. We were made for that light. You know, a city built on a hill. Designed to glorify God and be that transformation.
And as always, In the last analysis, Jesus said it best. “YOU are the light of the world”, he said. Don’t hide that light under a bushel basket; get up on that stage and go dancing. So that others can see too and get to dance with God.
Shine, people. Shine!