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The Lamplighter
Philippians 2:14-15

The Lamplighter
Gas lamps
Philippians 2:14-15 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

When I was a boy, we went to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.

It is a deep cavern.

At some time during the tour, they gather everyone in the room, and turn the lights out. There is no dark like that one. Literally, you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

It is a different kind of dark many find themselves in. A loneliness and lostness create their own kind of darkness.

It was something that Rudyard Kipling experienced as a child.

As a boy, Kipling suffered greatly from tuberculosis.

He had to remain inside and did not see much sunlight. His world crowded in on him. Can you sympathize with him right now?

He grew out of the tuberculosis with age and became the greatest literary writer of his time, writing such works as The Jungle Book.

But he must have recalled the lonely times of his youth when life was lost to him. He wrote a short poem that seems to capture his essence. He remembered the leerie or the lamplighter who would go through foggy streets lighting the lamps with his long pole.

So, he called his poem, The Lamplighter.

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;

It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;

For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,

With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,

And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;

But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,

Oh Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,

And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;

And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,

O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

The picture is an apt one. The lamplighter going into darkened streets punching holes in the darkness by his light.

Paul wrote to the quarreling Philippians about being something different. He knew the ancient world. It was a dark place, full of superstition and self-centeredness. He encourage Christians “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14–15, NIV)

Think of the lamplighter, going through the streets, lighting a lamp so others can see.

It’s a challenge but it is one we have. What light will you give today?

Robert G. Taylor


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Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

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