2-1-17 - Gathering Light

Someone once asked me if I see better with my contacts than with glasses. I replied, “Actually, less well. But I don’t wear contacts to see better – I wear them to be seen better.” Vanity, vanity.

When Jesus tells his followers, “You are the light of the world,” he seems to mean light less as something that helps you see, than as something that helps you to be seen. “A city built on a hill cannot be hid,” he points out,

And, lest they don’t connect cities on hills and lights of the worlds, he goes domestic: 
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” 

Perhaps Jesus original followers were Episcopalians – faithful and devoted, but not wanting anyone around them to know that. "Shhhhh – I go to church… I believe in God… I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but I don't want anybody to know….” Maybe they figured everyone already knew. Maybe they figured modesty was a virtue.

Well, guess what? It’s not a virtue when it comes to talking about our faith! When we are proclaiming the incredible news that God is on a mission to love the world back into wholeness, we’re invited to be as loud and immodest as we possibly can. There are a lot of people with broken parts who need to hear that news, you and I among them.

So many in Christ’s church are so quiet about the power of God’s life in the world – maybe as a consequence of living in cultures where Christianity dominates. Well, those days are over. Many people around us were raised in secular homes, and have never heard that Jesus is about anything but rules and judgment. The world needs the light we carry, and we need to shine it brightly to give light to “all in the house.”

We need to let our good works show, not so we can get the credit, but so we can highlight God's power, and so we can inspire others to join us. Sometimes the “good works” we do – the outreach projects, shelter meals, advocacy, visiting ministries – are the easiest place for people we know to join us in our faith lives. And once they’re working with us, it’s not so hard to share how we are fed spiritually.

Where in your life do you most feel you are visible as “the light of the world?” Where are you least? What is it about the first that allows you to be “out” as a Christ-follower, or hope-bearer? What is it about the second that inhibits you?

What are you most proud of in your Christian life? Can you boradcast that, show it off? It glorifies God when we give thanks for what God is doing through us.

Elsewhere in the gospels we read that Jesus is the Light of the world, and here he says we are. That’s a part of his identity we get to share. If he calls us that, we can be sure he will fill us with his light – and his light doesn’t quit. His light conquers the darkness. His light sets up a glow in us that the whole world can see - as we let it shine.

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