Shine forth, O light of God indwelling.
May the flame burn clear and bright
Fed by that pure and endless oil,
The Spirit filling me. Let not
This flesh, this mortal lamp, obscure
The brightly burning flame. O God,
Let not the lampstand intervene
Or claim the glory for itself.
May it be clean, and plain, and yielded
To the holding of that precious
Oil, flaming, burning brightly
That the world may see Christ.
- Joan. H. Lyon
I always took the references to us being the light of the world as indicating it was our job to shine out among the lost, shining out with the truth of the Word of God.
Yet this poem presents it in a way that indicates we are to be the vessel holding the light (and oil) that shines out from us. Now the picture seems a little clearer for me - it is more like a combination of both concepts.
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are the light of the world, shining forth the light of Christ to the world.
Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Now this definitely makes me want to study out even more how the priests in the OT tabernacle were to take care of the candlesticks:
Always filled with oil (the Holy Spirit)
Never go out (always shining the pure light)
Wick trimmed neatly (having our vessels clean, useful for service)
I always looked at how the candlestick pictured Christ (and the Holy Spirit), but had not looked much at how it pictured the believer. Looks it might be an interesting study!