My great-grandmother’s name was Eliza Jane Gibson. She emigrated from Derry Hale, Portadown, County Antrim, Ireland to the United States in 1888. She was my mother’s favorite relative and my mother always spoke so fondly of her grandmother. Didn’t she have just the loveliest of names, Eliza Jane? In 1891 she married another expatriate Irishman, James Gibson. They had 5 children;however, only 2 lived to adulthood. One died of rheumatic fever at 14 months, another died of smallpox at age 4 and yet another of some kind of tumor at age 15. After celebrating just 10 years of marriage, her husband James also dies of smallpox. Life must have been so full of challenges for Eliza Jane. In a matter of 20 short years she had left forever her family and home country, and then endured a string of unrelenting death of her husband and most of her children. I can hardly imagine the griefs she bore. Her eldest child, the only one I ever knew, was Margaret Gibson, my great-Aunt Margaret, who ironically never married, never had children and lived to a great age, just a few weeks short of her 103rd birthday! When my Aunt Margaret spoke of her mother there was always one thing she proudly mentioned over-and-over about her mother; that she washed clothes for a living, was a house-keeper for wealthy families in Jersey City, New Jersey, and that the sheets and linens she washed and bleached were brighter and whiter than what anyone else could ever do! They were so white you could hardly stand to look at them for more than a moment! I think of Eliza Jane when I read Mark’s Gospel, the 9th chapter. It’s the story of Jesus being transfigured, changed in appearance as He’s talking with Moses and Elijah, and then hearing the voice of God the Father affirming His love for His only Son, this same Jesus. Mark records that Jesus’ ‘clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.’ Brighter and whiter, dazzling with light itself, more than the brightest anything that we have ever seen! Jesus, the light of the world, lights our lives, lights our way, lightens our load of guilt and shame and sin. Some say that angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly. In Jesus, through faith in Him alone, we become light and lighter in this dark and soiled world so in need of cleansing,and washing,and bleaching and direction. ‘You (and I) are the light of the world’, Jesus said (Matthew 5:14). How about that? Time to shine? ‘This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!’ How about you? It’s time…

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