My Dad had a habit of getting into scrapes of one sort or another, and they usually resulted in much laughter in the family. I have to say, though, that he did not always see it in quite the same light! The one which I am about to recount falls into that category. During my childhood years it was quite usual for people to go home, at what we now call lunchtime, to have their dinner. After all most people lived within easy reach of home and not that many mums worked, certainly not during school hours. My Dad used to cycle to work and one icy winter’s day he came, via the back door, into the kitchen and told us that on his way home his bike had skidded and he had ended up coming off, landing on his side. Notwithstanding that indignity, the friction of the fall had ignited the box of matches in his trouser pocket and he had got just a little burnt before he could smother the flame. Unfortunately our reaction was not sympathetic immediately and we all burst out laughing as the image floated before us and we knew he would not be best pleased. Needless to say, he was not pleased when we all laughed before we became dutifully sympathetic. ‘Strike a light’ was a common phrase then, an exclamation of amazement or surprise that Dad used often, and this time it had happened. Looking back, it was not a good thing to happen but it had all the elements of what provokes the reaction to farcical theatre or film. It was not the first occasion, nor would it be the last, when we caused annoyance by laughing the predicaments he got into.
On the subject of light, we have just had the street lamp brigade’s attention as they replaced and re-sited our street lights. Maybe you have had the same experience. Personally I like the new lamps. No more harsh orange glare and I am all for cutting down on energy cost and usage as well as light pollution. For us, the only downside is that we no longer have a brightly lit frontage with the added security that afforded. Our neighbour reports that they can now see the new light shining in their bedroom when they couldn’t see the old one as well. Strike a light! It is amazing the difference that light makes, especially the right kind in the right place.
In John’s gospel 8:12, Jesus told the people around him “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV). This message is also picked up in the worship song which opens with the words written by Chris Tomlin
“Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with you.”
So, I say, let the light of Jesus shine and take it with you wherever you go.