Beach Memories

  • June 23, 2011
  • #7604

Joni shares that we are lights to the world. Jesus is the greater light, and we are His lower lights marking the way.

Hi, I’m Joni and here’s a favorite hymn we used to sing around the campfire when we were kids on the beach.

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy, from His lighthouse evermore
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights keep burning, send a gleam across the way
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save. 

Well, I don’t know if I can sing it as well as when I was a kid, but whenever I sing it, I have to think of my daddy – when he was a young man in the early 1920’s, John K. Eareckson he served as a sailor in the merchant marines patrolling up and down the waters and inlets of the Atlantic east coast. My father became very familiar with lighthouses, buoys and channel markers – and I guess that’s why he loved singing this hymn to us – let the lower lights keep burning. Sitting around the campfire on the sand dunes along the Delaware shore, when we would summertime camp, we’d listen to my father talk about shipwrecks and storms. He said that’s why channel markers along the inland waterways were so important – they mark where there was safe passage, warning where the way was narrow, warning of any sandbars or hidden rocks beneath the surface. And when we’d sing this hymn, he’d always say to us, his daughters… actually, my cousins too gathered around the fire… he’d say, “Now children you are the lower lights. Now you are the channel markers telling people where there is safe harbor. Jesus told us that we are the lights of the world… He’s the greater light, and you boys and girls are His lower lights marking the way.” My daddy knew what he was talking about; Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5, He said, “You (that’s you and me now all grown up)… we are the light of the world…” God is the greater light, and we are the lesser lights: We show the way in the darkness… we dispel fear and uncertainty… we brighten gloomy spirits… we point the way… we direct others a safe harbor. It’s what lower lights are supposed to do. 

I’ve never forgotten those long-ago days, and every summer when there’s talk about beach camping, I find myself drifting back and thinking about my daddy and my sisters and all my cousins, all the family gathered around this big campfire right there on the beach along the Delaware shore, and singing about the lower lights. It’s my prayer that, today, God will put a hymn on your heart, too, for Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So today friend find a way to speak the words of a favorite hymn to encourage someone else today… ask the Lord to put a spiritual song in your heart… sing and be a lower light… brighten the spirits of those around you, lighting the way and showing where they should go… into a safe harbor, right? You’re the lower light… whether you are on a lamp stand or a city on a hill, keep it shining today.

And once again let me remind you of our website. Come by and visit us any time. It’s joniandfriends.org. 

© Joni and Friends

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