I love the hymn “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”. 1 It speaks directly to me as one who has been called of God to watch over and help those that He puts in my path. We all have been called to do so. These are the inspired lyrics written by Philip Paul Bliss:
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Our Father’s mercy and life-giving light are represented here by the strong light that comes from high on the lighthouse. This guiding light cuts through the darkness of the night on the coast, even in times of decreased moonlight or of a raging storm. Its presence alerts the incoming naval vessels of their location and the path that may lead them to safety. Our Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel are similarly the light that we seek in our lives especially when surrounded by darkness or when our way is uncertain. It is the gospel that brings us to the covenant path, the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life. There is safety in knowing and moving on this certain path.
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
In this image, we are those that serve by manning the lower lights to guide our Heavenly Father’s children to safety, as, with our help, they focus on Jesus Christ first. The hymn describes a scene in which a lower light is aligned with the higher lighthouse beam, showing the way to a safe arrival on the beach or pier. The Savior requires us to lift high our lower light to help Him, The Light, succor the lost seaman in mortal and eternal peril.
Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
As we teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all that will receive us, we bring light to those in worldly darkness. We know what it feels like to sin as we are learning to truly live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Once we are worthy and able, we teach the gospel to others and come to their rescue from sin, guided by the Holy Ghost and keeping our covenants with Jesus Christ. We walk back to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, together with those we serve.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.
To me, trimming our feeble lamps means to prepare to serve and act according to God’s plan for our salvation and exaltation, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We read the scriptures and the words of living prophets, pray, ponder, repent, serve, and continue to seek guidance to find who else needs our support. We strive to be good instruments in the hands of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is The Light and requires us to keep the associated lower lights burning.
In the General Handbook: we read in the introduction to ministering, “The Lord wants all members of His Church to receive such care. For this reason, priesthood holders are assigned as ministering brothers to each member household. Ministering sisters are assigned to each adult sister. These assignments help ensure that Church members are remembered and cared for (see Moroni 6:4).
“Ministering is an important way we keep the commandments to love God and to love our neighbors (see Matthew 22:36–40). It is also a vital way to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation.”2
May we seek to be increasingly brighter lights, as we read in D&C 50:24–26, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
“And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;
“He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.”