Lighthouses

You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. (Matthew 5:14 WEB)

I remember watching an old monster movie with a lighthouse. The Day of the Triffids was a classic. A meteor shower blinded anyone who was outside watching the beauty of the lights in the sky and turned simple plants into giant, walking, noisy, man-eating plants. Beth was never interested in man-eating plants so she never saw this particular lighthouse. I think she missed an important aspect of life and might want to check the contents of her flower pots for giant man eating plants.

Other lighthouses unlike the one in the movie were not ignored by my lovely bride. I’m not sure where Beth’s fascination with lighthouses originated but she enjoys pictures, paintings and especially visiting lighthouses. She talks about the lighthouses in New England, where she grew up. When I was growing up the closest I came to a lighthouse was holding up a flashlight on the side of a lake to catch my friends attention.

Our son Joel would tease his mother about lighthouses. He called them big flashlights. When we did visit a lighthouse he went around asking where they put the Duracell. He never found them even when he looked into the basement.

20160210 Cape Lookout NC 010I must admit I do admire lighthouses. They are stately, imposing, and cool looking. Standing at the top of the lighthouse commands a magnificent view of the surrounding land and sea which makes sense due to their purpose in life. I can imagine myself standing on the walkway, spyglass in hand, wind and rain whipping through my long hair (what little hair is left), with scraggly beard searching the horizon for a ship in danger. Beth has been known to hug a lighthouse in her excitement.

The lighthouse is an old device used by sailors to find safe harbor, a warning against the shoals and a comfort to know where they are along the coast. The first lighthouse is mentioned around 1200 BC in Homer’s Greek epic poem the Iliad.

Every lighthouse looks different and its beacon flashes a unique pattern. They are listed in The Light List so sailors know where they are by the characteristic of each lighthouse glow. Only once did I see a lighthouse in operation. I don’t stay up after dark too often.

On our honeymoon we stayed on Sanibel Island. Late in the evening I watched the beacon at the southern end of the island sweep across the Gulf of Mexico at regular intervals. There was a soothing comfort in its piercing sweep of the water.

I believe it takes a lot of work for the lighthouse keeper to maintain such a strong and clear illumination. If the Fresnel lens is dirty the lamp is useless. The lens must be checked, cleaned and maintained at regular intervals. The power house needs to be kept fueled and the fog horns in working order.

In Philippians, Paul reminds believers to live a life worthy of the Gospel. When we do this we are a beacon to the world around. We announce to those who heed God’s beacon there is a safe harbor. To those who ignore the beacon and head for the reef we are proof of disaster on the horizon.

Are we a beacon of hope or is our lamp dusty and useless? Maybe it’s time to clean the lens, increase the power and be a guide to a perishing world.

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