After a short walk from the parking lot I clicked off my flashlight. Darkness raced around me in a split second.

The lights of Yosemite, from high above

The lights of Yosemite, from high above

The early morning was cool under a moonless night. Dark as pitch I could see innumerable stars overhead, but I could barely see the nose on my face.

Despite the darkness I could feel the cliff right in front of me. I could hear the deep airy void in front of me, quietly murmuring, the distant sounds of waterfalls crashing somewhere in the dark.

Though I would start many trips this early in the future, on this early July morning I was still afraid of what I couldn’t see.

Looking to my left, what I knew was 3000 feet below me, tiny pinpricks of street lights hummed like orange stars, tracing roadways through the Valley. In front of me the faint lights of Camp Curry glowed in between tall pines.

Lights were never meant to shine for shining’s sake. We were meant to shine and be seen by others.

High above Camp Curry the eastern horizon of Yosemite National Park slowly grew in brightness.

I had come to Yosemite Valley with my father and brothers to hike Half-Dome in a day’s time. We awoke early, arriving at Glacier Point in time to watch the sunrise.

As I looked at the horizon, a small cluster of stars moved. Confused, these lights milled about, seeming miles away but close enough to reach out and pluck into my hands from the mountain tops.

Looking closer, I saw that they weren’t stars, but the blue LED lights of hikers' headlamps, preparing to watch the sunrise from atop Half Dome.

Light is amazing that way. When we look at the skies we see the light from a million suns, incredibly bright, and impossibly far away. We see them as they were eons ago, yet their light shimmers from the darkness, reaching us here on Earth.

Sierra stars, shining from on high

Sierra stars, shining from on high

Even standing at Glacier Point looking across miles of open space, I could clearly see a light, (a light smaller than the palm of my hand), as clear as could be.

It really makes me think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:14-15:   "14 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house."

Often I forget that the Jesus called to me with the Gospel. Yet the buck was never to stop there, it was never to just be about me. Jesus calls all of us to shine as lights to the world.

Lights were never meant to shine for shining’s sake. We were meant to shine and be seen by others.

We are meant to be a clear beacon, seen by all for miles around, through the Word of God beckoning all sinners to come from the darkness and come home.

In fact, as a church we have a phenomenal opportunity this season to be lights to our own Santa Clarita Valley with LightNight.

Though our LightNight events use to be a big blowout here on our church campus. Several years ago, as a church, we made a decision to adjust our LightNight celebration parties to individual LightNight parties in homes throughout the valley.

This is what the Gospel is about, shining that others who are in desperate need of Jesus can come and find grace, give glory, and reach others.

For more information on our coming LightNight celebrations, check out our webpage.

Looking forward to shining with you.

- Joseph Gregory