The text from Pastor Tim said, “Preach what brings you joy.” So, I started thinking about Tillamook, Cape Mears, a beautiful weekend at the coast, church members who love caring for the community, cameras, and motorcycles. Then I received a text from our daughter, Julene, who lives in New Zealand.
“Dad, you are right. It is time we all put on the armor of Light!”
That sent me back to Romans 13:12 where Paul tells us it’s time to “put off the works of darkness and put on the Kingdom of Light!”
So, I prepared a sermon on light! And a children’s story about light. And some small flashlights to give to the kids. And enough “glow-in-the-dark” stars so everyone in the congregation could have one. I was pleased and excited.
Then, in the church foyer, I learned that the Tillamook church had designated the entire month of January as a time of “Light!” (I love the creativity I find in our Oregon Conference churches!) A table in the Tillamook lobby was covered with canning jars, small glasses, and wine bottles all filled with lights. Above the display was a reminder that we are, “The light of the world,” and an invitation to “Take One.”
I smiled, slipped into the sanctuary to get mic’d up for the worship service, and then set my puny flashlights and stars on the front pew, ready to be given away later.
After the service, Jeanette Betlinski-Coleman, editor of the monthly Till-a-Gram and creator of the foyer lights, offered me a large clear wine bottle that is filled to the cork with glowing “wine bottle lights.” It’s sitting on my kitchen table as I write, glowing brightly and reminding me that I have “Put on the armor of light,” and am “The Light of The World.”
Some sermons keep on preaching long after the sanctuary is empty.
Here’s a recipe for making your own “Bottle Lights.”
1. Collect empty wine bottles from your neighbors. In our neighborhood we have been given a yellow plastic container for recycling the glass that has no redemption value. If you go out early in the morning, before the big green truck comes by, you’ll usually find a few perfect bottles waiting for you to “redeem” them
2. Scrub the bottles clean.
3. Purchase a box of “wine bottle lights” from somewhere on the internet. Amazon has a box of 15 sets for about $15. Be sure you get the light sets that include the on/off switch hidden in the cork!
4. Purchase a few pages of Photo Paper Direct – PPD Inkjet Matt Self Adhesive. Amazon or your local office supply store will have these. Usually, 20 sheets cost about $12. Create whatever design you would like to have on the bottles, print your bottle labels, pull off the paper backing, and stick them on your bottles.
5. Figure out a time to give the bottles away so that each member will have a keepsake that will provide a daily reminder of God’s Lights.
6. Send us a picture at email@example.com and we’ll share the light!
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