One of the wonders of summer is the firefly. If you grew up anywhere outside the city, the fascinating blinking “lightening bugs” were sure entertainment on a summer’s eve. Mom - or some adult - would scare up a jar, poke holes in the top, and the kids would run around the lawn chasing the elusive glowing lights to capture.
I must confess: I pulled off their tales and made firefly jewelry when I was young. It was just so tempting to stick that glowing light on your finger and prance around in the dark. Seems cruel now, I admit, but certainly no less fascinating that the light would still glow even separated from the body.
So many things about fireflies are fascinating:
Fireflies live as larvae under the ground eating for a year or two!
Fireflies only hatch and fly around for a few weeks in the summer, lay eggs and die,
Sometimes they don’t even eat as winged creatures,
There are 2,000 species of the Lampyridae of the beetle family
And the glow is in fact a cold light -a chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs, usually on a firefly's lower abdomen. The enzyme luciferase acts on the luciferin, in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP, and oxygen to produce light.
But you know what I find most fascinating? You never notice them in the light of day.
Of course they are there and if you start looking, you may see a few, but as soon as it gets dark, they come out to dance. At first it’s just one or two, but as if the music is just getting started, the darker the recesses get, the more alive with blinking lights it becomes.
Darkness, it seems, reveals the firefly’s unique quality. Is that also true of Christians?
We spend much of our “lives” feeding on God’s word and getting ready. It isn’t until a hardship or test happens, that the "glow" of our lives really gets noticed. If in that darkness we emit the light of Christ, by loving and sharing and showing the character of Jesus, we will attract those around us.
We may go unnoticed by day, but our character is the same.
We may get chased and pulled apart – just as the early church martyrs were used as torches in Rome – but that’s because the world is and always will be obliviously cruel. In fact, Pope Francis told his clergy this past May: “Let’s not forget that today there are more Christian martyrs than in ancient times, than in the early day times of the church.”
No matter. Our music, like the fireflies, is not of this world. It comes from within. It shines in the dark. It sends a message.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16 from The Message