This is more information than you really need, except to tell you that as I walk around in circles through the worship center in the almost dark one light stands out. It's the red light that hangs from the ceiling in the front of the room. Many sanctuaries have them, but not all. In fact, this is the first church I've served as the pastor that has this red light.
You probably know all about this and exactly what it is, but let me remind of what the red light means. It is variously known as a "sanctuary lamp" or "chancel lamp" or "altar lamp" or (I like these names best) "everlasting lamp" or "eternal flame." The idea of it comes directly from the Bible when God tells Moses in Exodus 27:20-21 that a lamp will burn always in the tabernacle.
While it means different things in different contexts and denominations, the overriding meaning of this everlasting or eternal lamp is that Christ is present - in worship, in the sacrament of Holy Communion, and in our lives -- and that this is a presence that is always there, Christ is always with us. In a sin-darkened world, the light of Christ is always shining.
So remember, there is not only a red light that hangs above me as I pace around the worship center in the dark to get my steps, and a red light that hangs above you as you worship, the meaning of that red light, that Christ is with us always, goes with us wherever we might be.
Let's remember this eternal light as we bring it out into our community by welcoming and including and inviting our neighbors and relatives and friends to the church for our Tent Revival this Saturday, September 24, at 3 in the afternoon. Our light will take the form of Music and Food and a message of Hope, and we want everyone possible to be there!
Grace and Hope to you,