Let It Begin With Me

Chaplain Aleesa J. Naish
Princeton Baptist Medical Center

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60: 1-3)

Have you ever been in complete darkness?  I am talking about real--can’t see your hand in front of your face darkness or the darkness you might encounter on a boat in the middle of the ocean with not a single star shining in the midnight sky.  For some, darkness may be ominous and frightful while for others darkness may be a place of solace--a place to escape, a place to hide. As children of God, however, we are promised that Light has come into our world and we are illuminators of that Light. The Light of which I am speaking is the “radiance of the Lord’s glory” seen by the shepherds in the field and the “star in the East” that when seen by the Magi brought them great joy and led them to the house of Jesus and his mother. 

There are times in our lives when we may feel the darkness looming over us.  In just this past year, it seems as if our nation has been living in great darkness.  Across our states we have witnessed fatalities from tornados, floods, and fires.  We have seen hatred and fear among brothers, mass murders by individuals, fatal shootings by children, killings by some who have sworn to serve and protect, and intentional massacres by some who claim to kill in the name of their god.  Our nation is in need of peace. Our nation is in need of Light.   

In his sermon, “It’s a Dark Day in our Nation”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached these words,“Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole . . . This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men.”  “This love”, he continues, “is that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.  Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.  This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of John.”  “Let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is Love.” 4:7.

Spoken from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967, Dr. King’s words continue to be relevant, applicable, and challenging for us today.  In the words of Isaiah, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you.  The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” 

As we embark on this New Year, let us shine this Light that has “risen upon us”.  Let us share that unconditional love and illuminate the Light within ourselves for all our nation to see.  For, “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 

Prayer: Our Father, let peace begin with me.  With every step I take let this be my solemn vow, to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen                                     

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