As the Pastor was talking about the light of the world, two candles burned beside him (both as part of the liturgy but as an illustration of the topic on hand). Except it was really hard to see them burning even as the pastor pointed to them. The problem was that the room at too much light to see the candles too well. What we needed to see the candles was more darkness. In a darker room those candles would have loomed large in our vision.
In the modern Evangelical world we see a lot of hand wringing about the lack of brightness from our candles, and the ever encroaching darkness of the world. Yet it strikes me that we should only be concerned about one of these issues. The greater the darkness, the brighter our light should be. If however the room is darkening but the light is not being better seen; then the problem is not with the darkness, it is with the candles.
Instead of cursing the darkness, we need to be inspecting the wax and wick that makes up our lives. What impurities, what obstructions, what might be blocking the light from shining forth? Let’s not blame the darkness for our failures as candles. Let’s be bright candles praying for the darkest rooms possible in which to appear all the more brightly.