Where Were You When Lights Went Out?

Posted June 13, 2008

Centuries ago a European nobleman built a church to leave as a spiritual legacy for his townspeople. At the opening ceremony the townsfolk began asking, “Where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?”

The nobleman pointed to empty lamp along the walls, each assigned to a family that was given a lamp to be brought and lighted at the worship service each Sunday – A striking reminder that failure to attend Sunday worship would thus leave part of God’s house and God’s people in darkness.

The clustering of persons that forms any community serves many deep sociological purposes, for Aristotle reminded us that humans are “political (social) animals.” But God’s revelation delineates far greater benefits of societal clustering when it is done for spiritual reasons. It not only provides the exercise of supernatural virtues like charity, compassion, patience, fortitude, kindness, and generosity, but it also occasions a very special modality of Christ’s presence when even two or three are gathered in his name (see Matthew 18:20). Moreover, even minimal human clustering for petitioning God can draw down miracles from his hand: “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you” (v. 19). In prayer, one plus one equals far more than two.

Neglecting to “bring your lamp” to your Christian community will deprive part of God’s people of your light – and his!

Fr. John H. Hampsch

“One- Minute Meditations for Busy People”