A few months ago I noticed that the light bulb in the recessed fixture above my office door was burned out.
No big deal, I thought: I removed the old bulb (it was VERY dirty, must have been there for years) to make sure I knew exactly what kind of bulb I needed. Fortunately, I had an identical spare.
I put the new bulb in: it didn’t work. Hmm, that’s odd.
I tested the new bulb in another fixture: it worked. Even more odd.
I then took a standard light bulb and tested the fixture above my door: it worked.
I then tested the old bulb in a desk lamp: it worked.
Everything worked. Nothing was burned out.
I then found a slightly differently shaped bulb – longer and thinner stemmed – and put that into the ceiling fixture: it worked: Aha! …Recessed fixtures can be very finicky about what bulbs will fit.
OK, so here’s the story: looking at the condition of the original bulb, it had been up there for years, far longer than the 8 or so years I’ve lived in this home. Given how filthy it was, I would not be surprised if it was an original bulb from when the house was built, 35 years ago.
But, no matter what, It had been there, above my office door, untouched, for a long time. It had never worked, and despite going in and out of that door several times a day, nearly every day, for years: I had never noticed that things weren’t working right. The dysfunction above my door was simply the way things were, I had never realized there was a problem.
And that’s a common problem for all of us. “The way things are” works for us. We are often not aware that something is wrong, that something doesn’t quite fit right, until we take the time to pause and look around to see how things really are.
There are always problems, always things that don’t fit, things that need our attention. That we don’t see them is not their fault. And, it really isn’t ours, either. However, that doesn’t mean that such problems don’t exist, nor does it mean that we shouldn’t look for them.
In order for God’s light to shine everywhere, as God intends, and as we are called to make happen, we need to actively look for where the darkness is, and then labor to bring light into those places.
We are called to see that which has – until now – been unseen.
– Pastor Allen
Delivered at ARK Community Church, Dalton MA, Sunday, January 8, 2017 (First Sunday after Epiphany, “The Baptism of Christ”).
Copyright (c) 2017, Allen Vander Meulen III.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.