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Taking Shots at the Light  

It juts 165 feet into the sky and has lit the coastline since 1874.

The St. Augustine lighthouse is more than just a landmark. It is a tower of living history (its light is still in use today!).

One bizarre chapter of that history unfolded in 1986.  Bullets fired from a .30-06 rifle aimed directly at the light. Those shots ended up shattering 19 prisms in the Fresnel lens. Hank Mears, who served as the caretaker of the light from 1968 to 1989, immediately called the FBI.

After carefully combing the area, agents discovered powder burns on a nearby palm tree.  Eventually, they traced the shooting to a fourteen-year-old kid. The lens needed repair, which required two years of painstaking work.

You have to wonder, who would want to shoot at a lighthouse? Turns out, people have been taking shots at the light for a long time.

Consider the prophet Jeremiah, whose unflinching prophecy got him tossed into a cistern, where Scripture says he sank into the mud. Daniel spent a night with lions. Stephen was stoned outside the city.  For his unwavering beam of light, John had his head cut off. Consider all the shots that Jesus took throughout his three-year ministry—all before being crucified between two thieves. 

People have been taking shots at the light for a long time. And the darker it gets (and the brighter we shine), we can expect to take our share of shots, as well.

But lights were made for nothing other than the darkness!

No point in having a lighthouse for mere decoration. 

I’m not suggesting a hideous fate awaits every one of us. But a proper reading of Scripture demands a certain sobriety. 

Consider Christ’s assessment: “And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

What now? Shall we dig a hole somewhere and hunker down? Here again, the words of Jesus are compelling: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 4:16).

It’s time to shine!

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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