Faith Factor | Illuminate Africa, one lantern at a time
February 13, 2014
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — What is a "star?"
In our celebrity and achievement culture, we've given a few select people this title — along with our fascination, money, and praise. Surrounded by dazzling publicity, these headliners seem to exist in a different universe, somehow brighter than ours. We give them attention, and they shine on.
But in this preoccupation, we can lose sight of our own light — and our power to change lives.
Long ago, Jesus told a crowd gathered on a hillside, "You are the light of the world." Who were these women, men, and children? Not the rich or powerful or famous stars of their society.
They were average, unknown people like us, who stopped in their day-to-day routine to hear a powerful message: that they were blessed by the gift of life, by the love of God, by their inner power to make the world better.
This inner light is within all of us, Jesus taught. It's activated by love for self, for God, and for each other. And when you wake up to it, you become the star of your own life — fully alive, aware of your worth, and able to radiate support to others, one small, good act at a time. Every one of us can live in God's light, as God's light.
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St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, located at 341 Village Blvd. in Incline Village, invites you to join us in a light-giving and life-changing act during this church season of Epiphany. It's a time when we shift our attention to any places of darkness — in ourselves or in our world — that need positive change. And use our power as a community to practice being the light of the world.
From now until Sunday, Feb. 23, we're collecting donations to buy Luci lanterns for men, women, and children in rural Kenya who don't have electricity. They struggle — along with the 589 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who have no electric power — for adequate warmth and light. That's more people than in all the United States, Canada, and Mexico combined. Imagine the North American continent completely dark after nightfall. Africa is that continent.
For light, many Africans use dim, highly flammable kerosene candles that put everything they have — health, children, possessions — at risk of devastating fire. The answer? Luci, a safe, clean, renewable solar lantern, designed to be independent of the power grid. When its lithium ion battery is fully charged by the sun, it can light up to 15 square feet for 6 to 12 hours — for 300 to 500 cycles of use.
Episcopal churches in Nevada are teaming with sister churches in Kenya to buy these high-tech lanterns at $9.50 apiece for families who desperately need light for the basics of life.
If you're interested and able, please join us in this small but powerful act with a donation of any size (details of giving at 775-831-1418 or http://www.tahoeepiscopal.org). Your attention will go to fellow humans in great need. Your generosity will spark your inner light. And it will shine around the world!
Rev. Clare C. Novak is an Associate for Interfaith Ministry at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Incline Village, Nev.