I love lighthouses. And I love photographing them as well. Eventually, I plan to post a lighthouse photograph series from my cache of pictures. But not today. Today, my thoughts about lighthouses are elsewhere.
Because I’m enamored by these structures, on our trips to the sea, whether it be ocean, lake, or bay, we try to catch sight of or visit any nearby. On our Chesapeake Bay trip to Maryland, we visited a few and I managed some photographs of them.
The Hooper Strait lighthouse in Saint Michaels was different from others as it was a screw-pile like the Seven Foot Knoll one we’d seen in Baltimore. Screw-pile lighthouses stood on piles (legs) which were screwed into the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.
Once plentiful, there are only a few of these surviving. This particular one was moved from the bay onto land at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in order to preserve it and it was open to go inside and take a look around.
I always marvel at the life that was led by the lighthouse keepers, a lonely life indeed. I imagine it would be difficult living in such small quarters in solitude, especially if you were stationed at one of the screw-pile lighthouses out in a bay of water with access to land only by boat.
And I wonder if at times, the keepers felt forgotten. A sense of feeling lost even though their jobs were to ensure that sailors didn’t get lost at sea, to guide boats and ships safely to shore, to give those navigating the vessel a landmark for guidance, to shine that light through darkness and stormy weather.
Those lighthouse keepers sent the light outwards. To protect and serve others. To provide guidance and safety. To save.
In a way, those of us who are believers in Christ are like lighthouse keepers, or at least, we should be.
There’s a light inside of us – the light of God – belief in a Savior. Just like the little old Sunday School song says, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”
That light is not intended to just be kept for ourselves; instead we must shine it everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. Why? To rescue the lost, to help souls come to saving grace and belief in Jesus.
An old hymn, Send the Light, rings through my mind and says exactly what I’ve been thinking.
There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, and let its radiant beams
Light the world forevermore!
~ Charles H. Gabriel, pub.1888
As I viewed the huge beacon in the Hooper Strait Lighthouse tower, I thought about that. Do I send the light? Do I shine with Christ-likeness? And do the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ do the same?
We’re human. We often fail in our actions and words because we don’t pray for the ability, willingness, and desire to shine our lights.
But now more than ever, in this seemingly dark world of hatred and vitriol, we need to not only send the light, but share the light. May it be so.
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” ~Dwight L. Moody