If you take a tour of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York, be sure to see the basement. Known as the “Great Northern Depot of the Underground Railroad,” the church once harbored runaway slaves there as they made their way to freedom.
During this part of the tour, the guide will often turn off the basement lights and ask visitors to imagine what it must have felt like for those who had to wait for hours in the dark. When they heard footsteps, how did they know whether this person would be taking them to the next stop, bringing them supper, or returning them to the place from which they had escaped?
Isaiah reminds us that God is always leading people out of darkness into the light. God makes the way glorious. God’s liberating acts of love become the model and the motivation for the work of Christ’s Church. Those who experience God’s freeing love start sharing the love that frees others.
Whenever I stand in the Plymouth basement, I give thanks for the way that this earlier congregation acted boldly on their understanding that God wants to set all people free.
And I also pray that God’s love will free all current congregations, as it did earlier ones, to share Christ’s liberating light in a world where darkness still binds too many.
How could you share the gift of God’s light with the world this season?
God, may your light change us into people who will learn to love as you do. Amen.