Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let your light shine

We have been visiting the Pismo Beach, California area this past few weeks and one of our side trips was to tour the Point San Luis Lighthouse.  But first, a little history.

Juan Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, entered the San Luis Bay, located just north of Pismo Beach,  in the summer of 1542. Cabrillo later named the bay Todos Santos, translated as All Saints Bay.  In 1864 a Irish sea captain by the name of David Mallagh purchased the first wharf in the San Luis Bay.   Then in 1867 President Andrew Johnson signed  an executive order directing the Department of the Interior  to reserve areas of 20 acres or less to establish light houses along the Pacific coast including Point San Luis.  It wasn't until 1886 that the necessary legislation passed and appropriated the $50,000 necessary for the construction of the lighthouse.   Construction began in 1889 and was completed in 1890, about the same year as our house.  The light was officially turned on June 30 of that year.

In 1893 the breakwater construction begins using large boulders  taken from Morro Rock and Catalina Island. 

It is not your typical lighthouse that we are use to seeing, but the interesting feature of this lighthouse is the living quarters  built as an integral part of the whole complex.   The head light keeper and his family lived right there and then there were several houses for the other workers and keepers.

Tour groups meet in a parking lot about three or four miles from the lighthouse and ride up in this unique tour bus up a steep one lane goat trail that is barely wide enough for the bus.
The ride up provided some stunning views of the Central California Coast and the two wharfs in Avila Bay.  

The most fascinating part of the tour for me was the Fresnel lens that magnified the light from a single kerosene wick over 20 miles out to sea.  If you will notice the first picture above, the lighthouse is not as tall as most lighthouses because it already sits on a bluff over 100 feet above the water. 

How a Fresnel lens works

1: Cross section of a Fresnel lens

2: Cross section of a conventional Plano-convex lens of equivalent power.  The Fresnel lens reduces the amount of material required compared to a conventional spherical lens by dividing the lens into a set of concentric annular sections known as "Fresnel zones", which are theoretically limitless. (Wickipedia)

The Fresnel Lens has an intricate brass framework and over 130 pieces of finely crafted glass prisms.  It looks more like a piece of art work than a lens.

The house has been restored to it's 1890 period.  The floors were made of crosscut 2x4's and then laid on edge.  This cross cut edge is supposedly harder and lasts longer than if it was laid flat.  The floors were just beautiful and showed very little wear.
Kitchen sink and wash board

The "Memo-Bead" was sitting on a kitchen table.  One of my friends said that this was the first 'palm'.  It had 32 items listed that consisted of food and household items. 

Kerosene lamp with pottery base

Just some big ole' beautiful trees.  

I don't know when it was that I saw my first light at night from a light house, but I have been fascinated by the brightness and how far the light shone.  Now I know the principle behind it. 

Airports have also  used rotating bright lights to lead aircraft at night to a safe landing in the old days.  I can remember how grateful I was on several occasions to see the bright flash of a strobe light at the end of a runway in bad weather in a more modern time.  
 Isa 60:19-20  says "You'll have no more need of the sun by day nor the brightness of the moon at night. GOD will be your eternal light, your God will bathe you in splendor.   Your sun will never go down, your moon will never fade. I will be your eternal light. Your days of grieving are over. " msg

And then in Mat 5:16  it says "Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven" msg

My challenge to myself and all of you is to let your light shine among all people, tell the wonders that God and Christ have allowed in your life, so that others might have hope also. Let your light shine, (a little music please) "let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."