Let Your Light Shine Through

Did you know that paintings, statues, windows, etc were first put in churches to teach the illiterate about Christ and the stories in the Bible. How ingenious is that?

The main church in our parish has many, beautiful, stained-glass windows, depicting various scenes from the Bible from the Annunciation of Jesus’s conception to His Resurrection and almost every important event in between. There are windows around the altar bearing the images of several saints.  If you know anything about St. Francis and the history of the Church, you know how important these types of additions to the church building can be.

At our main parish church, we have these beautiful windows that, when the sun shines through them, bring us right into the stories they tell. They are awe-inspiring. But on Monday night, as I sat next to Ken at a Lenten penance service, I noticed something about those windows. When there is no light shining through them, they are nothing more than dark, meaningless, colorless shapes. They portray nothing more than interwoven shapes with no faces, no detailed landscapes, no recognizable places or people. And that got me thinking…

Is that what I look like when I’m not letting God’s light shine through? Am I nothing more than a dark, meaningless, colorless person? Are my features nothing more than blank, unrecognizable spaces? When I’m letting my fears, my hopelessness, or my despair run my life, do I look like an inanimate, two- dimensional being?

And doesn’t it go even deeper than my personal physical appearance? Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). We aren’t meant to block the light, to walk around in the throes of gloom and despair. We are meant to be a people of joy! We are meant to share our time and our talents, to serve others, to live a joy-filled life. Sure, there will be bad times, and times when we don’t feel like smiling or serving others. Even the day must succumb to the night.

But remember that there is always a dawn, a chance for the sun to shine (yes, I know there hasn’t been much sun along the East Coast in weeks), but all gloom and despair and darkness will subside. Somehow, even in our darkest times, we must reach down deep inside and lift off the bushel basket. And isn’t that what we should all be working toward during Lent, as we move from the desert, into the night’s garden, through the Crucifixion, and to the radiance of the Resurrection? Like those windows that shine brilliantly with the sun, revealing exquisite details and bringing to life the stories of Christ, we, too, are meant to shine with the glory of God. “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

Father Nash begins a baptism, surrounded by stained glass windows throughout our church.

Did you hear Amy’s guest appearance on Danielle Bean’s Girlfriends Podcast? Check it out

Are you looking for a new way to meditate on the Stations of the Cross this Lent? If so, check out the newly revised edition of Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms. You can download the ebook version today!

What I was writing about this time last year:  Becoming the Learners

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)