Family Liturgies

Family Liturgy: The Shining Forth of Light

photoJennifer DiFrancesco

God of light, this day we ask that you shine Your light into the dark places of our world. Share with us a word of encouragement that can be a guiding light to our path. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Memory Verses: “Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness.” ~ 2 Samuel 22:29

Anyone else spend their childhood days reading Shel Silverstein? I love that guy’s poems and books. (Okay, I admit it. I still have one of his books on my bedside table.) His poems strike a chord with me on lots of different levels, from being completely absurd and making me laugh out loud to being something I can COMPLETELY relate to. In Silverstein’s poem “Afraid of the Dark,” Reginald Clark cannot go to bed without a nightlight “and my teddy to hug, / and my blanket to rub, / and my thumby to suck or to bite on. / And three bedtime stories, / Two prayers, and five hugs from my mommy.”

I can clearly remember being afraid of the dark and doing all of the above! I swore I heard something moving in my closet. Today, an older, more mature me is no longer afraid of the dark (that often), but I am witnessing my middle child struggle with her own darkness phobia. We’ve tried the nightlight…it “wasn’t bright enough.” We tried keeping the bathroom light on…it was “too far away.” And of course I pulled the supposedly magical pastor statement:“God is here with you”. . . but that didn’t work either. Fear and darkness get the better of us sometimes, don’t they? What we want–what we need–isn’t to be told about the light and presence of God; what we need is to experience it.

On one of those nights when I was afraid of the dark, probably around age six or seven, I clearly remember my Dad sitting on the edge of my bed sharing with me a story of when he was scared. Hearing my Dad’s story made me feel not so alone. After all, he had survived the deep dark night. And now he was sitting with me in my dark night. I didn’t realize it then, but he was my light. Much like my older daughter is a light to her younger sister, patiently (most of the time) reassuring her from the top bunk bed that she will be okay, that she isn’t alone. The fear of the night isn’t gone. She still gets out of her bed in the middle of the night and finds her way into mine, but I’m okay with that. I know she is going to discover her own light and share it with others around her, just like Jesus encourages each one of us to do. Just like my Dad did for me.

Questions to Spark Conversation:

  • Are you afraid of the dark? Or have you ever been?
  • When you are scared (if not of the dark, something else), what do you do?
  • How are we lights to one another?

Spiritual Practice:
Sing: “This Little Light of Mine” and/or
Make your only nightlight to remind you to let your light shine in the darkness.

What you will need:

  • Tissue paper (whatever colors you like)
  • Small Jar (that will fit a battery operated tea light, perhaps a baby food jar)
  • Mod Podge (matte or gloss—-your choice)
  • Paintbrush
  • Battery operated tea light

1) Choose your favorite colors of tissue paper. Then tear the tissue paper into small and large pieces. Tearing the paper gives each piece a unique look.

2) Dip your paintbrush into the glue and apply to a small part of the jar. Begin adhering the tissue paper pieces to the glue on the jar. Overlapping them if you choose to add texture and richer colors.

3) When completely covered, cover the tissue paper with a coat of mod lodge. Let jar dry completely.

4) Insert battery operated tea light and you have your own unique nightlight.


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