“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:15-16

Each of us has been given a light–no, each one of us has been given a whole bank of stadium lights.  Those lights are powerful individually, almost blinding when all focused in one area.



Some lights may be easily seen by all:  the ability to find the exact right words for the moment; a gentle hand of comfort, or being present for another in a time of anxiety; lending your aid to another for no other reason than because you can; your wise counsel, or intellect…the list is almost infinitely long.  But YOUR list is unique to you, given to you from God and enlivened by the Holy Spirit.


The lights you possess may not be evident to others all of the time, and sometimes might not be evident at all (what Jesus is talking about in the passage above, which comes from our gospel passage from the Office of Morning Prayer for today). Your lights can even be things like discretion, silence, calmness and contemplation.


The point is that you use the lights you have been given.  In lighting your lamp, you bring that light to whatever dark situation in which you find yourself…lighting the way not only for yourself but for others around you.  Maybe you’ll even help to kindle others’ lamps as a result.


What lights do you possess?  Today, what actions will you take and how will you let your light shine forth?  What will you do TODAY to glorify God through the light and life you bring to the world?


In Christ,


About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
This entry was posted in The Rev. Matthew R. Hanisian. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Shine

  1. I can only think that repentance can be shining in me. For it was the woman called a dog by Jesus –her humility and willingness to eat the crumb offered that made Him give Himself to her in full–that is, made Him give to her her miracle, going against what the Jews required. Giving Himself to her meant Crucifixion and Resurrection. For Jesus too realized in this test, all of these encounters are tests of Jesus, actually, and He understood that He too had eaten the crumb– of the world’s hospitality, the crumb of an ear, the crumb of a heart here and there. And He identifies with her for of such is the Passion the identification with the suffering sinner.

  2. Rich Turner says:

    Matthew – wonderful thoughts! There is so much opportunity to discover and use our lights and seemingly so little time! Thanks for reminding us that light bringing is a not something we should do as an after thought or in spare moments, but be a high priority in all arenas of our life decisions – family, scheduling, financial, social, and spiritual. Selah!

  3. Millie Runner says:

    Matthew, I so appreciate your loving ‘reminders’ of our daily possibilities to quietly, gently serve. We’veall heard many lovely sermons on this topic, no doubt. My fav is to one from 4 or 5 Archbishops of Canterbury ago, using ‘the olde lamplighter..of long, long ago’. Isn’t that great? But today..I brought up a marvelous point we all need: use your shining lights on yourselves, too. Thank you so much for that.Seriously. I, for one, am going to try it!

  4. Jo says:

    Confirmed in the Lutheran church, we were required to recite our selected bible verse during the service. This was mine. And I have to say that it made a difference in how I try to live my life… not focusing on the good works part, but continually trying to be a person of light when there is so much darkness around us. Wish I could say I was always successful.
    (Wouldn’t it be interesting to have all we parishioners choose a verse to be in our hearts and heads?)

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