Shine Bright

In the midst of what has been taking place in our country recently, particularly through the pulpit of our president, causing division throughout our nation in areas of race, gender, class and socioeconomics, I felt a need to remind those of you listening to not forget our task at hand.
 
Matt. 5:16 (NASB) Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
 
I am a staunch believer that the kingdom is bigger than skin color. But those of you of African descent know there is a duality that exists when it comes to being saved and black in America. Where you have a mandate to love your enemies, but also a call to stand for social justice.
 
I try not to stumble into the realm of which W.E.B. DuBoise calls double-consciousness — what he describes as his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
 
With that being said, I know who I am — I am unashamedly Christian and unapologetically Black.
 
Cornel West, in his book Democracy Matters, said that Christians should be prophetic beings who shout down deliberate ignorance and challenge willful blindness. He says, “Christians should force the people around them to know and to see. What they do about it is their choice.”
 
To walk like Jesus means to identify with the disenfranchised and marginalized. Jesus himself was a part of the disinherited.
 
No matter what’s going on around you, it’s your job to be the light. That’s not a call to be passive. It’s a call to shine bright. When you encounter bigotry, don’t let it go unchallenged. Let your light shine. When someone is harassed for his or her sexual orientation, don’t let it go unchallenged. Let your light shine. When someone is judged on his or her exterior, don’t let it go unchallenged. Let your light shine.
 
Rev. Marvin McMickle talked about train crossings in Chicago. There was not enough room to build overpasses, so most train crossings are at street level, much like in Cincinnati. Most had arms with lights and a bell that went off long before the locomotive appeared and traffic was stopped. But in the remote areas, there was just a man in a booth who would go out with a lantern to warn traffic.
 
One night, the guard fell asleep and woke up to a train whistle that sounded too close. He grabbed his lantern and went out to warn the one car that was coming. He kept waving his lantern, but the car kept coming, and the car and engine collided on the track, killing everyone in the car.
 
During the investigation, the guard was asked a number of questions: Were you in the booth? Yes. Did you hear the train whistle? Yes. Did you come out and wave the lantern? Yes. Did you light the lantern? No.
 
“With life and death in his hands, he was waving a lantern with no light,” McMickle said. I believe God bends over to ask us: “Is there light in your lamp?”