Matthew 5: 14
“Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. 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.”
― Anonymous, Holy Bible: New International Version
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Frodo, spoken by Gandalf)
There is no doubt about the shadows and the darkness that we encounter in the world around us, and sometimes within the fold of our Christian churches that are under examination by the current Royal Commission into child abuse, with the daily news uncovering darkness of the most appalling kind in the way our churches in this land have allowed children to be abused.
Today, more people die in Australia by suicide than die in traffic accidents.
There are a multitude of bewildered souls looking for some light.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Hear again what Jesus actually said to his followers: You are the light of the world. You are.
You are now. Not you could be, or should be. Not tidy up your act, stiffen your will power, and commence trying. Not maybe in ten years time, nor if you work very hard perhaps by the end of the year.
Jesus did not say to his disciples “Now go off, learn these creeds, sign this mission statement, undertake these spiritual exercises, pray for two hours each day, read two chapters of the Bible each day, fast and mediate; then you will start to become the light of the world.
What our Lord said was more immediate. “By trusting the unexpected, unearnable, grace of God as it flows to you through my words and deeds, you are now the light of the world.”
It is not our light but his light. Not by our strenuous efforts but by pure grace. ‘The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world’ John 1:9
‘Candle in the Wind’ (1973 re M. Munro, 1997 re Diana), by Elton John and Bernie Taupin….both these versions are about a brilliant, popular yet lonely, vulnerable women who alone were the candle….
‘And it seems to me that you lived your life
like a candle in the wind.’
But the light of God is scattered across the globe, pinpoints and clusters of light (like the sight of the earth at night from space)
BEING SENSITIVE TO THE LIGHT
The eyes of our heart must be enlightened (Eph. 1: 18) so that we can begin
to see the Light of the world shining in the darkness of denial, despair, and distraction.
The visible reminder of Invisible Light.”
― T.S. Eliot
Was it this Light that the Magi saw in the dark skies above occupied Israel? Was it this Light that led them to ask King Herod such a provocative question: "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at it’s rising, and have come to pay him homage" (Matt. 2:2)
While the troops of Mahomet II surrounded Constantinople in 1495, and it had to be decided if the Balkans would be under Muslim or Christian rule for some centuries, a local church council discussed: What colour were the Virgin Mary’s eyes? Are angels of two sexes? What happens when a fly falls into sanctifies water: is the fly sanctified, or is the water polluted?
Glimpsing God’s light helps us to separate the big from the little; the important at a given point in time from the less important. We embrace the ability to discern. And to at least in part, to see things through the lens of the love and light of Christ.
ENOUGH LIGHT FOR THE NEXT STEP
Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say "How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?" There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour, or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.
Like driving in a fog: using the powerful fog lights often only succeeds in revealing yet more fog”
DEATH’S DOOR – GOD’S CALL
…From Morris West, ‘A View from the Ridge’:
“I have learned to be grateful for the small candle which lights my own faltering steps and to hope that when it gutters out, I may wake to a final illumination” p.142
… “Strange as it may seem, I am not afraid. I have accepted long since that a confession of faith is a confession of not knowing. I have accepted to trust that the city exists, that the lights are real and that what awaits the pilgrim is a home-coming”. p. 2
The tiny bits of faith, hope and love that the grace of God has sown in your mind and heart qualify you to be a bearer of the light of Christ Jesus.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
For God’s sake, and for the sake of those around you, believe more in the gift. Please do not fall into the temptation to despise yourself and give up. It is God’s light, not your failings that count. Never yield to despair. Christ is always greater than your darkness. Christians like Peter, John, and Paul, Mary, Martha and Susanna; and other notable disciples, had their failures on a grand scale, yet they were indeed beacons in a dark world.
You are the light of the world.....A person does not light a lamp then cover it with a bucket. They place it on a lamp stand, where it can provide light to all in that house. Matthew 5: 14
Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds, and give glory to God in heaven.