Fireworks on the Fourth


by Pastor Mark

Happy Independence Day! I love the 4th of July, both for the fun and freedom it represents. I am a patriotic person, learning love of country from dear friends and family members who served valiantly, as well as time I spent as a Cub and Boy Scout. I love the celebration of America’s Birthday and how this country shines in the world, even during periods in our history when we get it wrong. In spite of our differences and struggles, people from all walks of life will gather in the darkness tonight to gaze at the sky to see it explosively illuminated with bright and beautiful lights.

Fireworks. A fun and festive way to call us back to remember the line in our National Anthem that the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. I think there is something quite spiritual about the idea of us gathering in the darkness to see lights illuminating the night. It helps me reflect specifically about how “God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, CEB).

You are called to be a light shining in the darkness, illuminating the literal and figurative night like a firework. This provides a three-point metaphor that can help us think about the way God wants you to use your light in the world.

1. God wants you to shine, emitting your light to once again prove that light overcomes the darkness.
2. God wants you to reflect his light, knowing the light you shine is his light that he shares with you to shine through you.
3. God wants to amplify your light as you join with others so we all may shine the light of the glory of Jesus.

With all apologies to Katy Perry, you are a firework. Come on and let your colors burst as you fly across the landscape to proclaim God’s love. This is how The Message Version states Jesus’ words about being light-bearers, shining God’s light: “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.” (Matthew 5:14, MSG)

As we gather to gaze at the sky tonight, may it be a reminder for us to shine in the darkness and bring out the God-colors in the world. God gave you the knowledge of the light of his love in Jesus…may we explode that love this 4th of July and always.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the light of the knowledge of your love for me in Jesus. I pray by the power of your Spirit that I may shine that light, reflecting your love, and joining with others to illuminate the literal and figurative darkness we might find ourselves in today. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.