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“Shed a Little Light” – We need it so bad

Posted by Rabbi Ron Symons on January 4, 2016

It has been quite a run of lights. It all began back on the 25th of Kislev when we began to bring more light to a dark world. ‘Dark’ is the operative word. It was dark back on December 6 when the first Chanukah candle was lit because of the national conversations around immigration and gun violence. It was getting darker with each night as we moved closer to the Winter Solstice on December 21.

But we refuse to live in darkness. Jews lit Chanukah candles. Christians illuminated the night with billions of little bulbs. In the midst of the light, 60 people gathered at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to shed a little light on the essence of community with our Muslim neighbors. Together, we all lit the night on December 31, whether we celebrated at home or on the streets, as we welcomed the promise of an even better year.

And now with the Winter Solstice behind us and 2016 upon us, we can only hope that it is going to get brighter and brighter.

I am moved by God’s conversation with Moses:

2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name YHVH. 4 I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5 I have now heard the moaning of the Israelites because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6 Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am the Lord. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements. 7 And I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God. And you shall know that I, the Lord, am your God who freed you from the labors of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I the Lord.” (Exodus 6)

I know, it happened thousands of years ago according to the Torah, but reading it in the first week of 2016 as the weekly Torah portion, I can’t help but to think that it is happening today. Today, we need guidance to get out of the darkness. Today, we need to be motivated to find the Promised Land. Today, we need to break away from the slavery that makes us complacent. The words of Exodus stand on their own, no matter the setting in which they were spoken. They are even more powerful having been spoken at the burning bush – a bush that forever shed light.

And back in 2016, I still want to shed a little light. That’s why I’ll be replaying James Taylor in my head for the next two weeks (and more) as we approach the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. even as we acknowledge that we need more light and recommit ourselves to shed a little light.

Won’t you sing with me? Won’t you shed a little light with me?

Shed a Little Light – James Taylor

Let us turn our thoughts today

To Martin Luther King

And recognize that there are ties between us

All men and women

Living on the earth

Ties of hope and love

Sister and brotherhood

That we are bound together

In our hope to see the world become

A place in which our children

Can grow free and strong

We are bound together

By the task that stands before us

And the road that lies ahead

We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist

There is a hunger in the center of the chest

There is a passage through the darkness and the mist

And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

 

CHORUS:

Shed a little light, oh Lord

So that we can see

Just a little light, oh Lord

Want to do it on up, oh Lord

Want to walk it on down

Shed a little light, oh Lord

 

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill

Don’t give me no light from a TV screen

When I look in my eyes

I want to drink my fill

From the well on the hill

 

CHORUS

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist

There is a hunger in the center of the chest

There is a passage through the darkness and the mist

And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Let us turn our thoughts today

To Martin Luther King

And recognize that there are ties between us

All men and women

Living on the earth

Ties of hope and love

Sister and brotherhood

 

Image originally found here.

As always, I am eager for your conversation.  Please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

 

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