Carry The Light

little candleOne of my colleagues led his congregation through a long process of closing their church and razing their building last year.  This Christmas, shortly after the demolition, he received a surprising gift from a woman in the community, not a member, who just felt led to enter the abandoned building and look around one last time.  Here’s what he wrote about her gift:

I was surprised this past Christmas by {a gift of} a framed print by Roger Loveless entitled “Carry the Light.”   

“Mary” told me that on the day the wrecking crew came she felt an overwhelming need to go and see the church one last time.  She went in, looked around and went to the basement where there was only some debris and nothing left of any value.   She poked around some, then decided to leave.  But as she got to the steps, something prompted her to go back and search again.   Again she saw nothing worthy of attention so she turned to leave again.

As Mary started to ascend the steps, the strong feeling persisted.  She returned to a back room and moved a piece of carpeting on top of an old piano.  There was the print!  Her obedience to the Spirit proved to be fruitful.

“Carry the Light” features a Christ-like figure holding a lit clay lamp in a doorway.   His gaze invites the viewer to receive the light and take it with them.  It has been hard to close a church and dismiss a fellowship of men and women whom I have served for so long.   It is a sad task that has taken place in many rural churches across the Midwest for many years.   But this picture gives me the hope that, though the buildings are gone, the good news of Jesus Christ goes forth.   We carry the light of Christ with us to new ministries of love.

I am humbled to experience the hand of God at work.   I am grateful to Mary for following the promptings of the Spirit to redeem this meaningful print from the dust.   God is at work in many lives, and I am grateful that God would touch ours so clearly.  

Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd (Wishek, North Dakota)

Thanks, Marty, for that incredible story.

*Photo by The~ Awesome~Weirdo, Creative Commons license

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