Let your light shine

As God’s children, we’re all created to reflect toward others the healing, guiding light of the Divine.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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A well-known and much-loved gospel song proclaims, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, / Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Its humble message resonates with singers – and listeners – who appreciate its simple inspiration and goodness. Everyone can bring forth their God-given light, even under trying circumstances.

What does it mean to let your light shine? Jesus’ instructions in the Sermon on the Mount give a couple of clues. He references a city set on a hill, conveying that this unmistakable landmark can’t be hidden because of its prominence in the landscape. Then Jesus makes reference to setting a candle on a candlestick rather than hiding it, so that its light can shine upon those who are “in the house” – that is, in our experience.

These analogies point to the simple power of actively expressing God’s unhindered light. Jesus makes plain the blessing this can bring: enabling others to “glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

This is instructive, as it points those who see the light directly to God rather than to a human personality. What better provision for safety and guidance could there be than to go directly to the origin of the brightness for meeting every need? This recognition that God – our infinitely good creator – is equally source and resource frees us to give God the glory, to acknowledge the present availability of good that’s entirely spiritual and separate from personality.

The Apostle Paul explains it this way: “God, who first ordered ‘light to shine in darkness’, has flooded our hearts with his light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of God, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6, J.B. Phillips, “The New Testament in Modern English”).

This helps us to understand that we don’t have to muster the light ourselves. As God’s spiritual offspring, we naturally reflect it. Recognizing this enables us to express it more actively, as Jesus encouraged. In her book “Retrospection and Introspection,” Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church that publishes the Monitor, explains: “Man shines by borrowed light. He reflects God as his Mind, and this reflection is substance, – the substance of good” (p. 57).

Jesus so clearly understood the spiritual substance of good, proving it in his own ministry and teaching others how to rely upon it. His directives about letting one’s light shine weren’t limited just to those who had an audience – they applied to everyone. Humbly expressing our God-given nature through acts of kindness, affection, purposefulness, and even healing can benefit anyone who might witness them, pointing them to the source of those acts: God.

God is always providing inspiration and illumination – the light of Truth. Our willingness to live in accord with it as best we know how and to be useful to others is the natural outgrowth of love for God and for humanity. In reality, every moment is a call to do this, to radiate the divine Love that removes whatever seems to obscure the light.

Through this glorifying of God we are helping make this light visible to others in our figurative “house.” Recognizing the nature of our shared experience, Mrs. Eddy wrote in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Truth and Love enlighten the understanding, in whose ‘light shall we see light;’ and this illumination is reflected spiritually by all who walk in the light and turn away from a false material sense” (p. 510).

Each one of us has the opportunity to shine this reflected light outward, as well as to benefit from those around us who are shining their brightness, too. This is surely in keeping with Jesus’ teachings that we may – individually and collectively – glorify our heavenly Father, and experience the healing blessings that naturally result.

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