January 9, 2023: Let Your Light Shine

Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” (Isaiah 49: 1-7)



While this text speaks of the prophet/servant/Israel being like a sharp sword or a polished arrow, what catches my eye and stays in my mind is the word light. Be a light to the nations…to the ends of the earth.

Think about the stars. That light has traveled from galaxies and universes inconceivable distances away. A sword can only swing to its end and an arrow can only fly so far. But light can go so much further and so much faster. No wonder after all that talk about swords and arrows and the prophet/servant/Israel feeling that they can only do so much, the Lord says, “Better yet, be a light!”

As a child in Sunday School, I was always happier singing “This Little Light of Mine” than I was singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” And yes, my kindergarten Sunday School teachers had us march around the room singing that with our Christian flags. But I digress.

When we sing “This Little Light of Mine” let’s remember how far our light can shine. How is that light real or visible in your life?

–Ruth Gates



Dear God, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.