CHRISTIANITY: Lights Out by Gary M. Schimmer

Stories, Scripture, Hymns, and Art for the Christian Journey

Creation of Light, George Richmond (inset)

From: Emmaus Road

Live as children of light.
(Ephesians 5:8b)

I have enjoyed doing children’s sermons since I began my ordained ministry decades ago.  Each Sunday I talked to children about the meaning of one of the Bible verses from the lectionary.  I always tried to make one point in my talks.  I used signs, toys, pictures, and movements to illustrate my message.

One Sunday I talked about Jesus’s message for people to be the light of the world.  Now that concept was not easy to communicate to children because it was a metaphor.  Nonetheless, I gave it a try.  I gave each child a little flashlight.  They aimed their lights at each other and on the walls of the church building.  I emphasized that Jesus wants us to be the light of the world.  That meant that we are to love him and others.  So we are to let that love of Christ shine in our lives.

On Monday I received an email from a father whose child had listened to my sermon.  It seems that the parents of this child had asked him what he learned from the children’s sermon.  The parents hoped that their child would talk about loving Jesus and others.  But instead the little one said to his parents, “Pastor Schimmer wants us to keep all the lights on in the house.”

Poking a little fun at me, the father wrote, “Pastor Schimmer, I will now be sending you my electric bills.”  So much for trying to explain to a Biblical metaphor to three-and four-year-old children.

Emmaus Road

The red, green, and yellow lights of a traffic signal make for safe travel.  The flashing blue lights of a police car caution us to slow down and finally stop our vehicles.  The white, streaming light from a lighthouse provides safe harbor for a vessel at sea.  So when Jesus used the metaphor the light of the world, what does that mean for us?  He called us to bear good fruit for him in this world.  Our faith in this world is not to remain hidden.  It is for all to see.  We are to bear witness to Christ’s love, and that means service and even sacrifice.

A flash of light provides guidance.  A flash of light illumines pathways.  A flash of light reveals what was once hidden.  Likewise, as we let our light of faith shine in this world, we guide those sitting in spiritual darkness.  We illuminate pathways so others see what is true and just.  We uncover the deep and deceptive evil in this world so that it can be defeated, and peace will once again flourish.

Holy Spirit, may we be lights of faith to shine in this world and reflect the love of Christ.


“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light,” Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) #815.

I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.


In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father.

I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus.

Children love to sing this hymn about their divine calling to live by following Jesus and to let his love shine in all that they do, think, and say.


Creation of Light, George Richmond, 1826.

Creation of Light, George Richmond

Describe the anthropomorphic image of God in this painting.  Does God appear to be an elderly, feeble man, or is God depicted as a strong and powerful person?  Does God appear to make room for light with the sweeping motion of his hand?  Describe the image of light in this painting.  Is light streaming through the darkness like rays of sun breaking through dark clouds?  Does the creation of light by God provide hope in the midst of darkness and chaos?

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