IN his great Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus said to his disciples: ``Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.''1 There was a time when my candle was flickering. In fact, I would have preferred hiding both it and myself so no one would notice! A series of events in my life had left me feeling separated from God. (I've since recognized what an impossibility it is to be separated from our creator. We may turn from Him, but He never turns from us.) My circle of friends knew I was a Christian Scientist, and they had great respect for my way of living, which included abstaining from the use of alcohol and drugs. My being the only nondrinker at our social gatherings had long since been accepted.
At a party during this period of selfimposed depression I decided to ``join the crowd.'' Before the glass touched my lips, someone took it from my hand, saying, ``Oh, no, not you. Please don't do this.'' I hadn't even realized anyone was watching! I wasn't being myself and my friend knew it. He didn't like what he saw. The unnatural -- and for me, dishonest -- desire to turn to alcohol for a lift, instead of to God, never cropped up again.
Now, it wouldn't be truthful to say that this incident caused a total turnaround in my situation, but it was certainly a step forward, and it opened my eyes to the importance of one person's behavior. We never know who's observing and perhaps needing evidence of our honesty, courage, integrity, perseverance, in times of trouble. Each candle counts in the candlepower needed to dissolve the darkness of a troubled world.
Each of us has the privilege of cherishing and sharing the light of truth with humanity, a knowledge of the power of God to meet every need. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable.'' And further on the same page, ``We walk in the footsteps of Truth and Love by following the example of our Master in the understanding of divine metaphysics.''2
The need to dispel the darkness and bondage of poverty, child abuse, promiscuity, war, sickness, is great. But the power of Truth and Love, of God, is greater. Our understanding of His supremacy and of the actual nature of what He has created -- man as the very image of His being, His spiritual likeness -- can serve, through prayer, to bring healing to individual lives and to the world as a whole. This is our individual candlepower. So is our day-to-day expression of the divine nature through compassion, patience, purity, brotherhood, and so forth.
Take a moment and think how many people you encounter in a single day. Discerning something of their genuine, perfect, spiritual identity, as well as your own, can help to disperse the darkness of fear, sickness, loneliness.
Candles are quiet. They don't preach. They simply shine by being what they are. What are we? In truth, the expression of God, who ``is light, and in him is no darkness at all.''3 Is there any greater light than that?
1Matthew 5:14-16. 2Science and Health, p. 192. 3I John 1:5.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10