BE THE LIGHT OR BE IN THE LIMELIGHT?

Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt and light of the world. The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed, but become inconsequential in so doing. They have to lose themselves in order to cause any difference to their surroundings.

Salt is well-defined in substance and is felt rather than seen or identified as such. It is often quite easy to comprehend being the salt of the earth, for its role is well-defined and its boundary marked.

To be the light, however, needs a clear understanding of purpose, priority and pose. The purpose of light is not to draw attention to itself, but to bring in to sharp relief what is hidden in the shadows. The priority of light is to shed its illumination so that what is not seen becomes uncovered and exposed. The pose of light is to dispel darkness and impart comfort in visibility.

The issue in being the light is that we often confuse it with being in the limelight. Most often it is construed that to fulfil the role of being a light, one needs to have exposure and elevation. We think that when Jesus said that no one lights a lamp and puts it under the bed, but on a lampstand, it means being placed in a position of prominence. We assume that when He said that a city in a hill cannot be hid, that advancement is needed for influence. We decide that to be a force to create a ripple, one must be placed in positions and posts of visibility.

The good news is that to be the light one doesn’t need authority or power or control. Light, by its very nature, will alter its surroundings and empower all around. So also in this dark world, you don’t need special recognition or position, because being the light talks about conduct not position. Jesus said Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

Being the light is to draw attention to God and elevate Him so others can reach the safety of His presence. All you need to do is just shine in the darkness so that others can see and be helped.

Light is basically energy that will do a work, viz. destroy darkness, irrespective of where it is found or placed. Coupled with the sense of sight, light is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. A tool will serve its purpose for whatever it is created to do, irrespective of its circumstances.

Light can be ensconced in a humble lantern or beam out of a mighty lighthouse, yet however and wherever it is placed it will cause a change in it’s surroundings. So also it doesn’t matter who you are and where you are placed. Just be the light and do the work of light – clear out darkness.

Light, like salt, has to disperse itself into the medium to accomplish its work and fulfil its task. So also be willing to be unknown as you actively fulfil God’s mandate in life. The One Who created you acknowledges and appreciates you being the light. Those around you know the role you play in their lives and will appreciate and thank God for you.

Do not fret that you are not in the limelight, for you are in good company. The stalwarts of faith, Elijah, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, Ananias who baptized Paul, etc were all people who had no visibility or position. Yet God saw them and recognized them in His graces.

The greatest example of light, Jesus Christ, lived unknown for thirty years in the quietness of a middle eastern hamlet. He Who came to be the Savior of the world and the greatest Man to live on planet earth, lived in obscurity and invisibility for about 80% of his life.

If you are one who lives a hidden life, unknown and unsung, remember you are in good company – in the company of the Son of God!

Continue to be the light without worrying or fretting that you are not in the limelight!

Being the light is not synonymous with being in the limelight!

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com and google images

BEING & BECOMING THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus told his disciples that they were salt and light of the world.

The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed.

They both diffuse and disperse themselves into the medium they are placed to add (flavour and illumination) to their surroundings. Both dispel something (tastelessness and darkness) through their influence on the environment. Both do not draw attention to themselves, but are known by the effect they create, viz. taste and sight.

The difference between them is that salt needs to melt away into oblivion, its substance never evident but felt. Light, on the other hand, needs to be lifted up to be evident to all, if it is to bring sight and comfort all around.

Salt has the ability to combine everything together into a cohesive whole, while light by nature separates everything into two different entities.

Jesus said that if salt loses its saltiness (its nature) it is only fit to be thrown in the dunghill because it has lost its ability and nature to cause change.

Similarly, He said that a lamp is not lighted to be put under a bowl (covering), but is kept on a stand to be true to its nature (to illuminate). In other words, light becomes useless when it is not placed in a position from where it can be seen.

For a lamp to be in placed on a stand means to be placed in a position that will facilitate and help it do its work, viz. to illuminate and make bright. Only if the way is made for its brightness to be seen can light dispel darkness and bring into sharp relief the things that are hidden.

In our walk with Christ, there are different seasons in life wherein we alternate as salt and light. There will be times when we are hidden away with no one even being aware of us. We will be doing our work and influencing others in quietness, without publicity or fanfare. It is easy to be light, to be seen and acknowledged, but hard to be salt, unknown and unsung!

Salt purifies and preserves, but in so doing, has to lose itself. To be salt is to be felt and often not known or acknowledged. You will be needed but not maybe appreciated or thanked, just taken for granted. No one places or levate to a place of prominence, though it is valued and stored as being essential to life.

So also you maybe taken for granted or unacknowledged, but take heart. Do not fret at such times, just continue doing what you do, for Heaven sees what you do, even if men do not or acknowledge not!

You are in good company for many of the prophets began in hiding before they were know. John the Baptist was n the wilderness many years before he came on the scene. Elijah suddenly appears on the national scene to confront the king. family, before being recognized and anointed as King by Samuel, lived in quietness with the sheep, the youngest and considered the most insignificant of his family. We have no idea of the depth and background of Ananias who anointed Saul (who later became Paul) and yet he had the privilege of bringing healing to one of the great apostles of all times, the Apostle of the Gentiles!

Jesus Himself was unknown until He was baptized in the Jordan and was identified as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist. Thirty years He lived in obscurity, without doing doing a miracle, preaching a sermon or having any followers. In fact, His brothers did not acknowledge or accept Him His ministry and He was rejected by His own townsmen.

Yet Heaven noted His progress and watched over His growth. The Bible says He grew in stature, gaining face with God and man. He did not walk in arrogance as Son of God, but humbly behaved as Son of Man, learning the lessons God put Him through, fighting His battles over sin in secret, ‘learning obedience by the things He suffered’ and was shaped as the perfect vessel that brought salvation to all in the fires of loneliness and in the crucible of affliction.

If you are one who is hidden and unknown, do not fret but take courage. You are known and your worth is recognised not on earth by in heaven and by heaven.

If you are in a season of obscurity, seemingly forgotten, placed on the shelf and hidden away, do not lose heart. Many a prophet was formed and forged in the backside of the desert before brought into the open, like Moses.

Strengthen yourself with the realization that God knows our address and is privy to all we go through in secret. He is aware of our tears and bottles them up as precious.

Remember certain flowers open only in the night and are often ignored, though the perfume the night with their pleasant scent. They bloom and bless wherever they are because that’s the place and time ordained for them by their Creator!

If you are in the season of being salt, rest secure in the thought that God knows where you and what you do. He understands and appreciates who you are, considering who you are and what you do precious.

Be the salt of the earth, influencing the world around, in quiet confidence and gentle blessedness!

*Pic from unsplash.com and google images

IN THE SHADOWS

Rest, He said, under my care,
I wouldn’t, as I sought to tear
Things apart with my share,
Unable to sit silent and bare.

Relax, He said, under my yoke,
I didn’t, for I knew the mock
This quiet stand would bring
And the ridicule that would sting.

Step back, He said, its my plan,
I struggled, for it felt so wrong
To do nothing, while others ran,
Here and there with burdens strong.

Calm down, He said, I know the way
I couldn’t, for I loved my role so dear.
It seemed a waste to be held at bay,
When a million things pulled at me near.

Be still, He said, know I am God
I wept, for I lost all I’d earned thus far.
I remembered His burden is light,
And His will the best for He’s my Lord.

I was all for doing,
He was all for abiding.
I thought I knew what is right,
But only He knows what’s best, day or night

Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Photo courtesy https://unsplash.com/photos/ZmeOcrsECVg

HIDDEN STRENGTH

AUG11TH.jpg

"Where shall we go for our vacation this year?"
"Singapore & Malaysia - Sentosa Island, Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, 
cable car ride to Genting Highlands..." 
"Let's do Disney World, USA. 
Better still, let's visit the Middle Kingdom in New Zealand!"
"Mom has that look on her face!"
"Cappadocia in Turkey".
"So weird!"
"Cappadocia is famous for underground cities in natural volcanic formations. 
Early Christians formed them to hide from their Roman invaders. 
It's a beautiful historical place."
"What else?"
"Song from Rajini movie Chandramukhi was shot there!"
"Then let's go there!" (Clamorous clapping)
"That explains your secret smile!"
"I know my kids!"

*This week’s photo prompt reminded me of three things:

1. Proverbs 30: 24-28

24“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: 25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; 26 Hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; 27 locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; 28 a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

2.  Cappadocia 

Here the Romans tortured the first Christians. Religious cave paintings display evidence of early Christianity. These caves were also used as hiding places. This is the most unique natural environment in Turkey with its magical, fairy like landscape. Mount Erciyes, previously known as Argaeus, is only 50 km away to the south of Cappadocia is a former volcano. The previously violent eruptions of the volcano caused sedimentation of large quantities of ash layers in whole area. The ash layers were solidified during the following centuries, at the same time rivers and brooks gouged grooves and wind and rains eroded the top level in different shapes and depth. The result was the cone structures here and there and sometimes a large group of them concentrated in one area. Some of them hide below a harder stone hat, under which they can better resist erosion.
At the bottom of these stone formations and cones, churches, cathedrals, homes and storage facilities were hewn out. During the early ages of Christianity, this place was a refuge for first Christians of Asia Minor. More recently, the area was a safe-haven for the Christians, under the threat of Muslim Arabs, between 7th and 13th centuries. There are hundreds of churches carved on rock formations in the area. Urgup, Goreme, Zelve, Avanos, Soganli, Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Ihlara Valley, Cavusin, Pasabag, Ortahisar, Uchisar are among the famous places with large numbers of early Christian settlements and churches in Cappadocia region. It is also known that St. Paul established one of the first Christian colonies in this region with his followers.

3. FILM SHOOTING LOCALE

Ah the magical Cotton Castle hot springs of Turkey is truly a romantic place to bask into. The movie that ran for more than a 1000 days made it’s mark on Pamukkale and Cappadocia to shoot a song for Chandramukhi. https://blog.pickyourtrail.com/5-locations-every-rajini-fan-must-visit/
Cappadocia hosts world-renowned movies: http://www.hotel-in-cappadocia.com/en/cappadocia/important-facts/filmset-cappadocia.html
A total of 265 state and private TV stations from 45 countries have shot either documentaries of films in Cappadocia in the last 15 years. The Cappadocia region in central Anatolia, famous for natural wonders such fairy chimneys and caves, has become the focus of attraction for both international and Turkish TV producers (Statement issued by the Nevşehir Museum Directorate).
Cappadocia has hosted several famous movies over the last 15 years, its attraction aided by its magnificent natural beauty, historic and religious sites and underground cities. Among them were “Medea,” in which the leading role was played by world-famous soprano Maria Callas, ”Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs Du Coran,” with famous actor Omar Sharif and “L’Empire des Loups / Empire of the Wolves” which included famous French actor Jean Reno.

I combined these in to my account! If you know Indians (and Asians) you will understand the film craze and especially the craze for one particular actor!

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc.,  expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful photo prompt © CEAyr