I don’t know if it’s romance, or what the word is, but there is a certain fascination, attraction, delight, in finding lighthouses. I have an image—a photo—sketched in my mind of a picture taken of a lighthouse out in the ocean withstanding enormous waves, and while one crashes against it, surrounding it with massive flows of water, the keeper of the lighthouse stands with the door open at the base of it. Have you seen that one?
I have always wondered how they staged/timed that picture, but the image contained a sermon in it. It would make a wonderful stained-glass window. But whether the lighthouse is in the Keys, or Jupiter inlet or Boston, these old bastions of navigational safety beckon to be admired, climbed, and photographed.
And that’s what we did up in Maine. Maine boasts 57 lighthouses. We only saw a couple and visited just one. They call it the West Quoddy Head Light, which begs some explanation just in its name. The Quoddy Narrows separate the US and Canada. So the easternmost part of the United States is actually west of Canada and the Narrows. Head Light refers to the actual lighthouse. It’s not as tall as the lighthouse in Jupiter nor is it the earliest of lighthouses in the US (but it does boast the fact that it’s the closest point in the US to the continent of Africa—now THAT’s counterintuitive!).
We went there to say that we have been to the Easternmost point in the United States. The lighthouse was a bonus but curiously the pictures we took were mostly about the lighthouse. Why? Because it’s up on a cliff—it doesn’t have to be tall. So it looks rather stubby. It’s painted in red and white stripes, which make it stand out, but not because of artistic or architectural
splendor. What is it about a lighthouse?
A lighthouse is both a symbol of warning and of hope. A lighthouse signals where the rocks are when navigating at night (and the day for that matter). In one sense you stay away from the lighthouse. But they also signal a bay—they mark the land. After a long journey, the lighthouse beckons the mariner home. I found this quote on lightbulbs.com, so I don’t know who to attribute it to: “A lighthouse is the face of sanctuary in the seas of adversity. It symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel; serving as an
encouragement for those who seem to have lost their one last try.”
Psalm 33:18 says “Surely the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His loving devotion to deliver them.” Kind of sounds like a lighthouse, doesn’t it? In our darkest moments, whatever those might be, we look around for signs of light. We look for hope, we look for God. And what does the Bible say: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5).
Our worship service today is a lighthouse—beaming the Light which is God, bringing hope to every one of us who come to worship. But we are to be lighthouses ourselves, offering hope to those around us, not because we are the light, but because the Light is in us. We may not feel like we have a lot of light to give, but again, it’s not our light anyway. It’s the light that is in us. And when we work together? The light shines bright!
That’s something to think about.
Looking towards the Light,
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31