Most Rev Dianne Sullivan
John 1: 1-3
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” .
There was a man sent from God whose name was Gandhi. He came as a man of peace to free his country from British rule and oppression. He led his people to the Indian Ocean to protest tax on salt. He was a Hindu but proclaimed himself the brother of all, a man for all people.
He understood that to be a light for others he needed to be a light within himself. He lived the change he sought to see in the world.
There was a woman sent from God whose name was Dorothy Day. She came as woman of service to feed the hungry and lift the poor. She lived among her people in New York with an appetite for goodness, a social activist invested in people. She wrote, “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each of us.” “We have all known the long loneliness,” she wrote “and we learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.’
There was a man sent from God whose name was Martin. He came as a man of vision, unafraid to challenge the rules of injustice, segregation, marching for freedom, the civil liberties for all. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin had “a dream that his four little children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
There was a child sent from God whose name was Rachel Beckwith. She was a child of nine years full of wisdom and compassion well beyond her age, who longed for clean water for people of poor countries. She raised nearly $300 for her ninth birthday but her life was cut short by a tragic highway accident. Now there is a foundation in her name providing fresh clean water, pumps and irrigation to developing- countries. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised in Rachel’s name.
There was a man sent from God who waited anxiously in an airport for his wife and two daughters flying from Jordon. There was a woman sent from God who waited in her hijab and prayer rug to pray to Allah for her Muslim family and friends, for their safety.
There is a woman named Ruth, Eona and, Maude: and there is Anne and Johnny May, Gladys, Hazel and Jean, Susan and Linda, Emily, Megan and Kelli all sent from God to be a light in the darkness, a sign of hope no matter where their lives have taken them.
There is a man named Dick, and Roger, Bill and John, all sent by God, Thomas too.
They are the strength for others, the backbone for leaning, the loyal men of commitment. They bring the light of stamina and perseverance, to others.
Salt of the earth is about decency. Light is about guidance and showing the way.
When my daughter was just a child she sometimes would become discouraged or afraid to confront new challenges. I told her these were little hills ahead of her that could be climbed. If she refused to meet the challenge and climb the hill the next hill would be steeper. Little by little she learned to climb those hills and then the mountains of adulthood. Today she has climbed every mountain put in front of her and she has become my light.
To be light for each other means we are listening; we are present; we are open minded and open hearted; we are willing to care; we are willing to give of ourselves; we love and we act from love. We try our best. And when we fail we learn and start again.
To be light means we are willing to enter the darkness and take a step in faith, not knowing where it will take us. This is after all a journey of certain uncertainty.
Letting your light shine takes courage and risks.
Marianne Williamson, author and spiritual teacher wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; Gandhi; Dorothy Day; Martin Luther King Jr.; Rachel Beckwith; it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
We are all meant to shine.