got a little light
Last week, I
had the good fortune to hear Maya Angelou speak at Penn State University.
Some of you may remember that I quoted from Maya Angelou quite often
in last years updates and everyday blessings. This is mostly
because a very good friend sent me a little book called Words of
Hope and Courage from Maya Angelou, and I found her quotes very
profound and insightful. This same friend invited me to attend Ms.
Angelous presentation last week. And I have to say that Maya
Angelou is one of the most inspiring people I have ever heard speak.
started her presentation by belting out a line from an old gospel
got a little light. Im gonna make it shine.
She read four
small parts from different poems and between each one she sang the
got a little light. Im gonna make it shine.
It was incredibly
powerful. And I am not just trying to be dramatic here
moved to the point of tears. Immediately, I felt as though Ms. Angelous
presentation was created expressly for me and for everyone who wants
this world to be a better place. How is that two women, growing
up in different eras, belonging to different ethnic groups, and
whose experiences in this lifetime differ so greatly can have so
much in common? I do not have a complete answer to that except to
say that we both live for Gods love, recognize our blessings,
and comprehend that our mission is to serve God by loving others.
I was not let down throughout the program. Ms. Angelou made a deep
connection to me, and I am sure many others, in her presentation.
The main point
of Ms. Anglous presentation was that we should always be a
light to others. We can never fully appreciate the impact that we
can have on other people, and other people may never fully appreciate
the impact that they have on us. If we do our best to make positive
impacts on all the people that cross our paths in this journey,
we leave this world a better place. One the quotes she shared that
I thought was very powerful was the following:
liberating and intelligent thought you can possess is the idea that
you have been paid for. Our ancestors and all the people that came
before you in this world have paid a price for you. Your only responsibility
is to pay for someone else.
If more of us
could truly accept our lives in these terms, just imagine the world
we would create.
Jesus was, of
course, the greatest teacher of this principle. Remember he said,
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind and with all your strength
your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than
these. Mark 12:30-31. He even told us to love your enemies
(Luke 6:27). It was explained to me recently by our pastor that
the love that is mentioned so often in the Bible is actually the
Latin term agape. Agape means to think of and care for others first.
And when we spread agape, we shine our light.
got a little light. Im gonna make it shine. How will
you make your light shine?
Will you smile
at a stranger? Will you spend time with your elderly parent or grandparent?
Will you play with a child? Will you give your time to help a friend
with a project? Will you put someone else first, even if you do
not know them?
I have heard
two variations of the following story, one version was told by a
Zen priest and a Christian pastor told the second version. I have
paraphrased their stories in my own version below. It is a popular
story, so you may have heard or read it before.
A man dies,
and by mistake, he is taken to hell. When he first arrives, he sees
a huge banquet table with all the finest foods and drinks. He thinks,
Wow, this cant be all that bad. As he gets closer,
he sees that the people have no elbows. They can reach the food,
but they are unable to get any of the food into their mouths. The
people are very angry and unhappy and generally miserable. They
are shouting at each other and fighting over the food. Finally,
the angels realize that there has been a mistake, and the man is
removed from hell and taken to heaven. The man is so relieved. But
his heart begins to sink when he sees the same setting. A huge banquet
table filled with all the delicious foods you can imagine. As he
gets closer, he sees these people have no elbows either. But these
people are laughing and singing. They are so happy. The only difference
is they are feeding each other.
We can experience
heaven on earth if we shine our light and spread agape. Ive
got a little light. Im gonna make it shine. I wish there
was a way to sing this little tune to you now (or much better, have
Maya Angelou sing it to you-try to use your imagination). I sang
it all the way home last Thursday, and Ive been singing it
since. It is helping me remember to always try to be a light. How
will you make your light shine?
the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither
do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put
it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.-Matthew
of your religion, you should practice being a light religiously.
Lord, we are
not perfect. But help us dust off our lampshades so our light shines
brightly on all we meet. Thank you for all the lights in our lives.
Thank you for all the people who have made a positive difference
in our lives whether we realized or not. And most of all, Lord,
thank you for your Light. Amen