Did you know that there are approximately 2000 different species of fireflies around the world? These luminescent winged beetles produce a light from within that emanates from their lower abdomen. This phenomenon is called bioluminescence, a term I recently discussed with my grade eight students during our Light and Optics science unit. Students tend to be fascinated by living organisms that emit their own light—everything from fireflies to jellyfish to plankton. I must admit that I am also intrigued, remembering those rare moments that fireflies were spotted around the campfire during childhood camping trips. “Fireflies!” we’d shout and everyone would frantically turn, desperately trying to catch a glimpse.
In reflecting on Jesus’ words in Luke 11:33-36 and the “light within,” I began to wonder, ‘What if we were bioluminescent? What if our bodies really were “full of light”? (v.34b). I’m reminded of a refrain that is sung during chapel services at my school.
“Christ before us, Christ behind us, Christ under our feet.”*
I believe that when Christ is behind us, before us, and around us He is also within us, and when Christ is within us, we can do no other than shine His light outward.
In all of the living organisms previously mentioned, bioluminescence has purpose whether it’s for camouflage, attraction, defense, warning, communication, or illumination. Light has purpose.
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it
will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand,
so that those who come in may see the light” (v.33).
As the traditional gospel song says, “Don’t hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine!”. What if we live knowing that the light within us has purpose? What if it was a goal, not only for our own lives, but also for our churches that “those who come in may see the light”? When people enter our churches and our lives through relationship do they see the light or are they clouded in darkness? Jesus said, “See to it that the light within you is not darkness.” Perhaps this can mean make sure your inner light has purpose. I can’t say what this looks like for each one of you, but I have to wonder if it’s about following in Jesus’ way of love and compassion.
“This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.”
*”Prayer for Peace” lyrics by David Haas
Lenten Reader 2018
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