Spiders, Sparkplugs and Skeletons – what do they have to do with lighthouses?
St. Marks Lighthouse
What do you envision when you think of a lighthouse?
A tall, white, smooth cone like the St. Mark’s Lighthouse in Florida?
Or perhaps an octagonal brick tower like the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia?
Old Cape Henry, VA
Does a pyramid-style building come to mind like the East Quoddy Lighthouse in New Brunswick, Canada?
East Quoddy, courtesy Cyberlights Lighthouses
These styles of lighthouses are most common and most photographed. But there are other styles as well.
The screwpile-style was usually built over water by drilling pilings into the bottom of the sand or mud. The lighthouse was then built on a platform on the pilings, which resemble legs, hence the name “spiders.” An example of this is the Thomas Bay Lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, MD.
Thomas Point Light, MD
A sparkplug lighthouse? This is the nickname given to a caisson-style lighthouse. These lighthouses, a cheaper alternative to the screwpile styles, rested on concrete or metal caissons. The result gave the lighthouse the appearance of a sparkplug. The Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York Harbor is typical of this style.
Skeleton lighthouses resemble oil derricks. They consist mainly of an open, metal framework with a central staircase. These lighthouses were more suited for open, exposed waters and were first built on the reefs of the Florida Keys. The Sombrero Key Light is an example of this style.
Sombrero Key, FL
Different styles for different conditions, but all these lighthouses serve the same function – to guide mariners to safety and warn them of danger.
In the Bible, it says believers have been given different gifts. One person has one gift, another person something else. We’re not all alike, yet we all serve the same God.
So what kind of lighthouse would you be? A spider, a sparkplug, a skeleton, or another style?
It doesn’t matter, as long as your light shines.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” 1 Cor. 12:4-6