The Widow and the Sanctuary Lights –

About fifteen years ago, my family drove to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we stopped at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. We took a tour of the Mormon facilities. What struck me was the tour of the Tabernacle. It is oblong and painted a light color. After, or maybe as part of the tour, an organ began to play. What captured my fascination was that the colors on the walls changed with the mood of the organ that was playing. Softer music produced cool, pastel colors. As the organ swelled in volume, the colors bathing the walls were transformed into a crescendo of fiery orange, yellow, purple and red. It blew my mind to realize that color and sound could be coordinated to accentuate praise of God!

I have never forgotten how I felt when experiencing light and music in Salt Lake City. Fast forward to Detroit. Several years ago I spoke to a recent widow in my congregation to inquire if she might be interested in donating additional lights for our church sanctuary. She had just lost her husband and I suggested that a contribution of lights for the sanctuary could be a way to memorialize her husband. Her name is Marjorie Bryant. When I was a young boy, Mrs. Bryant taught me Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I liked her husband, and I thought they made a great couple.

In a slow, methodical way, Mrs. Bryant had made regular contributions towards a lighting project for the sanctuary. Earlier this year we reached our goal of $15,000. The new lights have arrived and we have an installation date in two weeks. Mrs. Bryant was in church today, with her niece, Rhonda, for our Wednesday Noon Worship Service. I informed the two women about the installation schedule and asked my Associate Minister, Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill to take our photo.

Mrs. Bryant reminds me of the widow Jesus talked about in the Gospel of Mark,who in her humble, unassuming manner, gave more than many rich persons – not because the amount was so great, but because she gave from her heart. I encourage all who are reading this to search your heart and ask yourself, “How and why do I give back to God?” Ask you ask yourself these questions, think about the widow in the Gospel of Mark, who gave from her heart with no pretense, but with a humble attitude.

Mark 12: 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” [1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are you thinking when you make an offering to the Lord?
  2. If someone asked you to describe an appropriate attitude when thinking about what to give to God, what would you tell them?


Prayer: Lord, instruct my heart! Lord, I approach you today with a grateful heart. As I consider the life I am living and the blessings that I enjoy, in all honesty, I must admit that if it were not for you on my side, I do not know where I would be. I am not rich, but rich beyond measure because of what you continue to do for me. Lord, you have blessed me in ways that are far too wonderful! In you, I hope. In you I have faith. In you, I have learned to love. In you I feel empowered. In you, I am learning the ways of peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mk 12:42–44). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.