This Little Light of Mine
In a recent post I discussed how praying for oneself created a redemptive experience for many Latino students at Destino Trek. During that same night another of the prayer stations was set up to intercede for family members and friends who do not know the Lord.
As we neared that side of the room a table with candles was on display. Matches and instructions were on it asking people to light a candle as they prayed for one of their loved ones and continue lighting candles as they thought of and prayed for another one and so on.
As I watched the scene and joined in on intentionally lighting these candles my heart was filled with joy. Many of us grew up seeing candles all over our friends’ homes and our churches; this time however, we were believing God for the salvation of our familia and our friends. It was a powerful moment to relieve a familiar scene with a deeper meaning.
We were not putting our trust on the candle or on the act of lighting it, but rather the candle served as a reminder of the light God brings into the life of people. In a way we were asking Him to bring our loved ones out of darkness and into his marvelous. We were literally letting our light shine.
In Acts 17 Paul finds himself walking around Athens surrounded by many temples and altars to many gods and interacting with many people declaring the good news of Jesus to them. At some point he is asked to speak before a council on religion and education. As he opens his discourse he makes observations regarding what he saw, including an altar that was built “to an unknown god.” Taking that as a premise, Paul begins telling them “what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you” and he goes on to explaining the gospel.
Using the things that were familiar to the Athenians – temples and altars – Paul declares an unfamiliar truth – Jesus and the resurrection.
In a similar way we have such an opportunity to declare the truth of the gospel among Latinos. The dominant religion in many Latin-American countries is rich with traditions and symbolism and we have much to learn from the significance of these. Rather than condemning the symbols used by many we ought to find how God is working through what is known to people and declare the unknown truth to them. There are many areas in a culture where God has put a placeholder for himself. For the Athenians He did it through temples and statues, for many Latinos through candles.
Can you think of other placeholders God has put in the Latino culture for Himself?