Realizing what makes something beautiful.
This Sunday I experienced a holy moment. It was my uncle’s funeral. We said good-bye in a church full of family and friends. We hugged family we hadn’t seen in awhile. We laughed. We cried. We sang hymns that he loved and read scripture that comforted us.
Uncle Mike was a UMC Pastor, a Coast Guard veteran, and a Mason. He exuded the Holy Spirit and Holy Mischief. People loved him. I loved him. And he taught me more than I probably realize.
The first thing I noticed about the church where the funeral was held were the stained glass windows pictured above. The colors were so brilliant. Typically I look at stained glass windows to try and discover the story they tell. With these I just noticed how they shined. The colors reminded me of all the Bible stories that talk about light or fire. These windows told a story with no words or pictures and I bet if they could talk they would amaze us with the things they’ve seen over the years.
I decided to go outside to see if I could get a good picture of the church. My uncle served this church twice during his career and I wanted to remember it. So I went out front and got this picture from an angle so that I could get the steeple. It’s a very simple looking church. Nothing on the outside is quite as brilliant as the windows on the inside.
That’s when I started looking at the windows again. I noticed how plain they were from the outside. They had a unique texture but none of the colors. The only way to get the effect that I saw was to let light shine through it.
Isn’t that how faith works? We begin to look different and shine more brilliantly once we let God’s light shine through us.
That’s how I remember my Uncle Mike. He let God’s light shine through him. He was brilliant! He was quoted in the service as saying, “As long as I have breath in my body, I will preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And he did. One of the last things he did was prepare to preach on Sunday. I imagine it was quite the sermon in heaven, with lots of laughing and hugging and singing and tears of joy.
I pray that I can preach the gospel until my last breath. Be at peace in your new home Uncle Mike. I expect to see you there someday. Until then, may we all shine brighter with each passing day because you made this world a better place.
Until Everyone Hears,
(photos are from Mt. Carmel UMC in Hampton, Georgia)
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid."
Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness.
In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.