Rev. Dr. David H. Benke 

Emeritus Bishop of the Atlantic District Lutheran Church- LCMS 



Every Epiphany season for the past ten years or so, the Offertory procession song at St. Peter’s is “Many are the Light-beams from the One Light/Our One Light is Jesus.”  It’s definitely an “oldie but a goodie.”  It was penned by Saint Cyprian of Carthage in Northern Africa, back in the year 252.  That’s right, 252. 


As the Bishop of Carthage, Cyprian was surrounded by surrounded by pretty much what we see today: 

  • A culture that had lost its way and drifted into corruption and immorality
  • A Christian church in trouble, as controversies made it look silly and corrupt
  • Leadership that bent with the winds and couldn’t discern the breeze of the Spirit


So he spoke to his people there in northern Africa from 248-258, the term of his service as bishop, and down the centuries to us, about the unity of the Church.   He quotes St. Paul – “There is one Body and one Spirit, one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all.”  Then he says, “there are many rays of the sun, but one light;  many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; since from one spring flow many streams…yet the unity is preserved in the source.”


He fought for the Lord’s unity to be preserved in a world headed in the wrong direction.  When he refused to worship the Emperor, he was beheaded on September 14, 258.  He maintained his confidence in The One True Light, Jesus, to the end.


We at St. Peter’s are extraordinarily diverse in our backgrounds and countries (or states) of origin.  We have many views on how to raise children, how to save money, how to vote, where to shop and what to watch and not watch on TV or at the movies.  


We cannot diversify what unites us, though.  We are many lightbeams, shining bright.  But the one True Light is Jesus.  He holds us together – without the sun there would be no beams to shine.  But God’s Son shines in our hearts and holds us together – why?


To bring light to the world.  To sprinkle sunshine wherever we go.  To beam brightly in our homes and families and schools and workplaces.   Whether we’re Three Caribbean Kings bringing gifts to kids or seniors, or Sunday School teachers, or Friday Activity nite game-hosts, or Pre-School staff with 4 year olds, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing we’re Shining!


One of the old Caribbean tunes we sing is “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam.”  How about that for a winter message?  Be that sunbeam for Jesus!


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Tel: 718-647-1007

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