Three weeks into my year long project and I’m already deviating from my original list, although I suppose I am entitled to contribute a hymn or two! This is an old (1868) Sunday school song that I hadn’t thought of in years – maybe not since I was a child. Two weeks ago, when scheduled to play a prelude at church, I was looking for something that reflected the theme of ‘light’ that was planned for the service. After flipping through a couple of hymnbooks, this little gem popped up. Both the words and the tune are quite simple.Jesus bids us shine, With a pure, clear light, Like a little candle, Burning in the night. In this world of darkness, We must shine– You in your small corner, And I in mine.
It’s an easy concept for children. Perhaps a more difficult one for adults laden with the implications of language and ideas that can be understood differently depending on one’s experience of the world. I will choose a simple interpretation. While all is not right with the world, we do have the opportunity to bring to it something pure and clear.
Thinking about these simple words and the idea that we can choose to brighten our world in many ways, also reminded me of the words of Martin Luther King. I think I may have used this quote in my high school yearbook, and if I could recall where it was I would check! He said, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
From my small corner, I give you this song.