Gifts

My Light and My Salvation

My Light and Salvation TextThe sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

-- Isaiah 60:19

I love lighthouses – really a big fan. I like to look at them, climb up them, collect them, both in in-person visits and as dust-collecting tchotchkes. And I draw them. In fact, looking back at my illustrations, nearly all my beach ones have a lighthouse.

To me they seem a bit magical: a guardian, a beacon to show you the way. In fact, light itself is pretty magical. It is both a particle and a wave. Photons give light AND heat. Plants absorb it to give them life. And in humans, light helps regulate our moods. In concentrated form, it can cut through nearly anything (lasers) and it travels super-fast! In my science fiction imagination, light is somehow connected to love which is like The Force in Star Wars and binds us all together (I mean, God IS love and IS light…) And did you ever notice that God said “‘Let there be light’ and there was light” on Day 1 of Creation, but the Sun and Moon weren’t created until Day 4? Tell me that isn’t a little magical…

Well, I may be over-stating the case, but God comparing Himself to light makes a lot of interesting and educational analogies:

Light casts out darkness. You can’t turn down the darkness, you have to turn up the light. Darkness is merely the absence of Light, just as Evil is merely the absence of Good. When you turn up the light, darkness and all the sin that happens there flees. Those who do their evil deeds in the dark just hate it when goodness and light shows up. God is Goodness and Light. And he asks us to be just that in the world.

Light guides and saves us. The original lighthouse had to be that pillar of fire God used to lead and protect the Hebrews as they escaped Egypt. For 40 years the Israelites had a Heavenly night-light to show them where to go, and to keep danger away. For most of naval navigation, lighthouses brought sailors safely to shore or kept them safely away from rocky dangers. Similarly, God guides us and warns us and protects us from danger -- if we heed the warning.

Light gets brighter the more it is reflected. If you get to the top of the lighthouse, you will likely see one or two giant rotating reflectors that take a relatively small light and magnify it into a light that can be seen for miles. We have no light of our own. In our natural state we are cold and dark like the moon, but like the moon, we can reflect the light of the Sun/Son and shine it brighter and farther - from the little corner we’re in on out to a darkening world.

The way even the littlest light brightens a room is amazing. At our candlelight service on Christmas Eve we light the entire sanctuary just with our individual candles. And the original light is not diminished one bit by the next person taking some and passing it on. This is obviously God’s plan. He is the tall tower of light and salvation, protecting us and guiding us, and we absorb the light, ridding us of darkness, and reflect that light on out into the world drawing more and more people toward that light and salvation, to find comfort in its awesome warmth.

Blessings of warmth, light and love to you,

Jen Jahromi

My Lighthouse by Rend Collective


One Nation Under God

One Nation IndivisibleThere is one body and one Spirit. There is one hope in which you were called. There is one Lord and one faith and one baptism. There is one God. He is the Father of us all. He is over us all. He is the One working through us all. He is the One living in us all.

-Ephesians 4:4-6 NLV

I hope you will indulge me just a bit because this all came together in a way that makes me believe it is straight from the Lord.

Last year I made this illustration. Those are real kids with whom I went to school, and the reference photos were all taken around 1976. Now last month I was feeling the need to get a little funky, so I created a YouTube playlist of Stevie Wonder songs. And I heard the song “Black Man” from the album “Songs in the Key of Life” for the first time. This song was written in 1976 for the Bicentennial. I’ve listed the lyrics below but give a listen because it is one funky jam.

The song recognizes the achievements of men and women of various racial backgrounds for their contribution to our glorious country. What particularly struck me was how many of the people mentioned I had never heard of or knew little about. It surprised me because my generation was bathed in messages of unity. We were teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony with a Coke and a smile. Sesame street was fully integrated. Even the colors of Benetton were united. But history still belonged to the Great Men.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in that for us now. In the Bible, Old Testament and New, God continuously reminded His people to care for the ‘other’: the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, the poor. Over thousands of years God kept sending the message that His world was made for all men (and women) and yet we didn’t seem to grasp it. Maybe every generation has to re-learn this message. Personally, I’m fine with that. It’s a great message. It’s THE Christian message. Others may try to co-opt it or twist it to fit some new-fangled ideology. Don’t scoff or mock, just tell the next generation the truth: the enemy is never people, the enemy is sin and sinfulness. The only identity that really matters is the identity we have in Christ! Red or yellow, black or white all are precious in His sight. We are One Nation of humanity, Under God, Indivisible!

 

Black Man

by Stevie Wonder and Gary Byrd

 

First man to die for the flag we now hold high was a black man (Crispus Attucks)

The ground where we stand with the flag held in our hand was first the red man's

Guide of a ship on the first Columbus trip was a brown man (Pedro Alonzo Nino)

The railroads for trains came on tracking that was laid by the yellow man

We pledge allegiance all our lives to the magic colors, red, blue and white.

But we all must be given the liberty that we defend,

for with justice not for all men History will repeat again

It's time we learned this World Was Made for All Men

Heart surgery was first done successfully by a black man (Dr. Daniel Hale Williams)

Friendly man who died but helped the pilgrims to survive was a red man (Squanto)

Farm workers' rights were lifted to new heights by a brown man (Cesar Chavez)

Incandescent light was invented to give sight by the white man (Thomas Edison)

Now I know that the birthday of a nation Is a time when a country celebrates,

But as your hand touches your heart, remember we all played a part in America

to help that banner wave.

First clock to be made in America was created by a black man (Benjamin Banneker)

Scout who used no chart helped lead Lewis and Clark was a red woman (Sacagawea)

Use of martial arts in our country got its start by a yellow man (Yamashita Yoshitsugu)

And the leader with a pen signed his name to free all men was a white man (Abraham Lincoln)

It's time we learned this World Was Made for All Men.

God saved His world for all men: All people, All babies, All children, All colors, All races, This world's for you and me.

(call and response with children)

Who was the first man to set foot on the North Pole? Matthew Henson - a black man

Who was the first American to show the Pilgrims at Plymouth the secrets of survival in the new world? Squanto - a red man

Who was the soldier of Company G who won high honors for his courage and heroism in World War I? Sing Lee - a yellow man

Who was the leader of united farm workers and helped farm workers maintain dignity and respect? Caesar Chavez - a brown man

Who was the founder of blood plasma and the director of the Red Cross blood bank? Dr. Charles Drew - a black man

Who was the great American heroine who aided the Lewis and Clark expedition? Sacajawea - a red woman

Who was the famous educator and semanticist who made outstanding contributions to education in America? Hayakawa - a yellow man

Who invented the world's first stop light and the gas mask? Garrett Morgan - a black man

Who was the American surgeon who was one of the founders of neurosurgery? Harvey William Cushing - a white man

Who was the man who helped design the nation’s capital, made the first clock to give time in America and wrote the first almanac? Benjamin Banneker - a black man

Who was the legendary hero who helped establish the League of Iroquois? Hiawatha - a red man

Who was the leader of the first microbiotic center in America? Michio Kushi- a yellow man

Who was the founder of the city of Chicago in 1772? Jean Baptiste - a black man

Who was one of the organizers of the American Indian Movement? Denis Banks - a red man

Who was the Jewish financier who raised funds to sponsor Christopher Columbus' voyage to America? Luis de Santángel - a white man

Who was the woman who led countless slaves to freedom on the underground railroad? Harriet Tubman - a black woman

 

Blessings of Freedom to all,

Jen