Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Faith Works 11-26-16

Faith Works 11-26-16

Jeff Gill

Seeing and Singing and Showing


We may not have our downtown Courthouse lit for the holidays, but
there are many ways we bring a little more light into Licking County.

There are some lights around the square, and the Canal Market District
brought some new seasonal celebration to downtown Newark; as you go
out into the blocks around the heart of the city, you see church
buildings decorated and lighted in some new and different ways.

Thursday evening, Dec. 1, the "Sights and Sounds of Christmas" event
starts at 6:00 pm at Second Presbyterian Church, and for a small
contribution ($5 for adults and children over 12) you get to help the
Licking County Food Pantry Network and see, in a guided tour, the
insides of a number of our downtown churches and hear beautiful music
from various groups, many of which are native to the congregation
you're visiting. This is the fifteenth year of this annual celebration
on foot! For more detailed info, see

Come 8:30 pm the two traveling crews return to each others' company at
St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, for some final music, a few
refreshments, and a shuttle bus if you wish back to Second Pres.

It's at Second Presbyterian the community is invited again the
following Sunday, Dec. 4, for a "Christmas Carol Sing" at 2:00 pm that
Dave Doney of WNKO/WHTH and myself will co-MC, a chance to hear their
newly refurbished pipe organ at work and to lift our voices in song
along with it. A free-will offering will be taken to support some of
our special needs in Licking County, but the emphasis is simply to
gather in all who are looking for a place to just set down our cares
and sing out our joys.

As someone active across the community in some interesting ways
(interesting to me, anyhow), I am so encouraged, day after day, by the
many ways Licking County works together, coordinates between church
bodies and civic agencies, and identifies needs with an eye to making
sure action follows our talk.

Is this the Promised Land? Are we the harbingers of the millennium of
Christ? No, not quite, but every time I see a flash, a flicker, a
light in the window shining a path to the Beloved Community, I find
that I have a little bit more hope.

Jesus said "the kingdom of God is within you." When that statement was
recorded in Luke 17, I'm pretty sure he was not just addressing some,
but all. That Realm of the Holy, the "Basileia tou Theou" in Greek
which speaks of God's Reign, is already here, already in each of us.
But we pull down the earthly blinds, yank tight the shutters of the
soul, and keep it inside, so closely hidden we can't even see that
Presence ourselves.

But Jesus said that Realm of the Lord is in you and in me. There are
arguments against that, I know; usually spoken along the lines of "the
kingdom of God sure couldn't be anywhere in or around THAT person."
Hmmm. Perhaps.

But I've held onto just enough of my Quaker history to believe there
is "that of God" in all of us human finite fleshly creatures, and God
desires that we let our light shine.

In this season of growing dark, shorter days, long, long nights, we
need lights. We need some of what Clark Griswold has to bring, but we
also need what Jesus was telling us. The knowledge that a divine light
is waiting to shine out from us, in Newark, across Licking County, and
to our world: and this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

Thank you, friends, for reminding me of that Light placed in me by God
every time you let me see a little bit of your Light. And when we
shine together, it can be a glorious dawn.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell
him about how you are letting your light shine at
knapsack77@gmail.com, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.