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Lauren Jensen
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Lauren Jensen

More Than Tissue Paper Christians

They scurry in the door.

Backpacks thud on the kitchen table top.

Frenzied zippers fling open and the mouth of the bag opens wide.

Little mittened hands shove full-force into the void 

And emerge. With a plastic bag of treasures.

Their classes have one assignment for the week:
Turn off your screens and turn on your minds.

To aid in the effort, the school sends home 2 gallon Ziplocs filled with odds and ends. Yarn, tissue paper, glue sticks, straws. paper plate etc.

Project time. Make something, anything, creative. Then turn it in. Relentless doodads, claiming residency on my kitchen table. Evicted every single day.

He makes puppets. She makes a... can you guess it? 


It's a chandelier.

She's got vision. She just plans as she goes. A little duct tape here. A flashlight there. Voila.

It's a masterpiece she is proud of, therefore so am I.

She clicks the button and the flashlight burns bright, the tissue paper letting the light through. Not all of it, but some. With a gentle green glow. 

Not transparent, translucent.

I've been struggling with this parable. Is this what we want to be? Translucent? Casting a gentle glow of Jesus, with just a tint of ourselves?

I want to say yes- because God made each of us unique. He gave each of us gifts to shine His glory into a dark world. But I'm confronted with Matthew 5- a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.

Translucence is not the goal.

I wouldn't say the most faithful witnesses I know are translucent- I'd say they were transparent. Or at least pretty close. Brightly colored by the Creator God, but seeking to shine Him everywhere.

Absolute beacons of hope.

So then, what if our beacon doesn't amount to much more than an LED bulb shining through the middle of a paper plate covered in tissue paper? That's how I feel. How much is enough? How transparent do I need to be?

I confess. I'd rather be wrapping paper than tissue paper.

And tissue paper rather than crystal clear glass.

Then maybe we need to remember Who the light is that is streaming through our chandelier. Not so we can try to take over. Try to shine harder for Him. He is the only one who can do the shining.

All we need to do is get out of His way.

The things that cloud God's love in my life all have to do with me. Is that how it is for you too?

We just get scared.

Because getting out of the way means giving up the control.

But Who better to take control in our lives than the One Who holds all of life in the balance in the first place?

The One Who gave up His life for ours.

The One Who rose again, and Who gives us the joy of the resurrection every single day.

The One Who knows us better than we know ourselves and Who is sufficient for us.

When we focus on the true Light of the World, instead of the vessels that carry Him, letting Him through is not only less frightening- it's far more satisfying.

Praying that He shines undeniable love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy into and through your lives today, every day. More and more.

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

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