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As November arrives, so does the annual onslaught of fireworks. Now, I realise that some people actually like firework displays and pay good money to go and see hundreds of pounds worth of the things blown sky high – but I’m not one of them. To me, they are noisy, showy things that sparkle for a moment and then extinguish, leaving nothing behind but smoke and a big sense of disappointment. Having said that, one of the best sermons that I ever heard, (and saw) was based on a firework; a sparkler to be precise.

The sparkler was lit and the congregation informed that, if they didn’t like long sermons they were in luck, because this one was going to last only as long as the sparkler did. Our attention was drawn to the beauty and glitter of the light –nice in its own way, but not much use in a power cut! A candle, on the other hand, was plain and ordinary, yet its light is steady and will last quite a long time – even a small tea-light will last a few hours. A candle is not as flashy as a sparkler, but it’s a lot more useful. So, the lesson went, those of us who are called to bear Christ’s light to the world, needn’t worry that we are not beautiful or flashy or spectacular – sparklers are of little use; it’s candles: plain, simple and ordinary though they might be, that help lighten a darkened world.

That was it. Brilliant eh? (pun intended). I heard that sermon nearly thirty years ago and it’s as true today as it was then.

By the way, if you are going to a firework display – I genuinely wish you a very good time, from the safety of my living room!


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