The hymn spells out the longing that so many people feel. We long for light, truth, peace, hope, food, water, shelter and warmth. Some of those are immediate needs for daily survival. Others are big picture, existential needs, in which we long for a good life.
In either situation, the writer, Bernadette Farrell, reminds us that we are the answer to the world's longings. We are God's sign of peace and reconciliation, hope and compassion for the world. As we repeat the phrase, "Make us....", the hymn speaks our invitation to God to use us to be a sign of his grace.
The idea that we are God's response to the world's longing can be overwhelming. We think of the whole world wonder if we have what it takes to respond to other's deep needs. But what if we made it more personal?
Imagine this: What if we all wore our longings on our sleeve? What if we could see what each other was dealing with every day? What if we saw who was sad, or lonely, or in physical pain, or betrayed, or heartbroken? Our response would be much different. We would immediately know their pain. We acknowledge: I know that feeling of depression and sadness. I know what it means to move through the day and every step is agony. I know the loss of a husband, a child, a best friend.
In that moment, God makes us a sign of healing. In the moment of our knowing, we are God's gift to the world because in our compassion we do not stay silent. We say "Tell me" to the other person. We sit and listen over a cup of coffee. We acknowledge they are not alone and their experiences are not happening in a vacuum. God gives us each other as a sign of God's great love for the world.
As we sing the refrain, we affirm that the Christ-light shines in our relationships and our communities.
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine thought the darkness.
Christ, be our light! Shine in your church gathered today.
So many times we pray and ask God for a sign: a sign for how to handle a relationship, a sign to know what is next, a sign that God still cares.
God is listening. God cares more than we can ever know. God sent a sign...and if you miss that one, there is another right beside you. Or....it might be you.