Monday, November 17, 2008
Light of the world....
Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Chandra and I just returned from a few days in Seattle Washington. To say it is a lot different than Paducah KY is a harsh understatement. Not just in the sense that it is a bigger city, has mountain peaks as scenery and millions of people, but in the sense that the spiritual atmosphere there was completely different.
Here in Paducah you can find a church in about any direction you turn, you actually don’t even have to be looking for a church (building) to find one. That is the same for about any other city I have visited, but then again I have never been that far West and out of the direct impact of the bible belt. In Seattle I did open the phone book and find a lot of listings for churches, but driving and walking the streets I found only 1 and it wasn’t in Seattle, it was in Renton just outside of Seattle.
I had already made plans to attend Mars Hill Church there, because of the sound theology (although somewhat controversial) of the pastor, Mark Driscoll. Well before the trip I had contacted Mars Hill and asked them which of the 7 campuses would be the most convenient and was decided on that the Downtown campus would be the most likely candidate. I did take a little stroll on Saturday following one of those cute little cartoonish city maps, but with great success. I found the building of the Mars Hill Downtown campus.
The service Sunday morning was winding down for the Song of Song sermon series, so it had a lot to do with husband and wife and how they should be “doing” things. It actually went right along with a course titled “Love and Respect” that Chandra and I have been attending at Oak Grove Baptist here in Paducah. I won’t go into detail of the décor or message, because I’ve gotten totally off base on what I was going to write about.
On the flight out it was daytime, very bright sky very beautiful to look out over the clouds. I always set next to a window when I fly so I can soak in Gods creation. I pray in thanks of God for allowing me to look down at what He has created. About the most spectacular sight flying in was the mountain ranges, but Mount Ranier, Mount Olympus and Mount St. Helens jutting skyward was just simply breathtaking.
Taking all of the beauty of the mountain ranges, the landscape and the marvels that we flew over during the day, I can say that they return flight had more impact on me than anything I saw in the daylight. This was only the 2nd flight I have ever been on at night, but God has been working on me a lot since that first night flight. This flight I was noticing the lights below.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
I started thinking that as Christians we are to be salt and light to the world. My mind started to wonder around that verse and I began to see the lights differently below. They looked a lot like how Christians are in the world. You see great darkness and then see thousands of individual lights scattered throughout these dark places. Then you see thousands of lights together in places that form neighborhoods and those are on the outskirts of cities that have millions of lights. My mind was racing to equate that as the single lights are very noticeable in the darkness, they do not conform to the light, they in fact nullify the darkness. The neighborhoods I likened to groups of Christians that study together, hang out together, witness together and are there in the rough times for each other. Or even could be the Church study groups or Sunday school classes. Then you gaze out further and see the cities, the Churches. The brighter light in the darkness cast by them is because of them being grouped together. Not that one shines more than the other, but they all shine together to be a beacon in the darkness. Looking out from the plane window I could see cities plotted out across the blackness. I could also see the single lights as we were flying over them, but only for a fleeting moment. I then started to think about what connected them and that each and every one of those lights were connected by the streets. If there was a light, then there was a street, road or highway that would get you there.
My thoughts then changed to the parable of the vine and branches that Pastor Durham has been teaching on. The lights being connected to the streets were like the branches being connected to the Vine, just as Christ connects us all. All the lights that the plane flew over were in fellowship together because of the road, they were all doing what lights do – casting light into the darkness. Even the lights in Seattle are connected to the lights here in Paducah; we all have the same roadway, which is Christ. Christ connects each Christian together and when we come together we cast more light as neighborhoods, more light as Churches and then when the sun rises, that Light exposes everything. Christians can then sit back in the Light of the Son as His Light shines upon the Earth.
The light of Christ exposes all the darkness, not like our small lights that affect only our surroundings. But God has purposed us to be those lights in the darkness, to come together as friends and families to study His Word to cast more light, then to be the Church which casts off even more light, that is connected to all the other Churches to be one Church, the Bride of Christ so the Light of Christ can shine.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Ephesians 5:8 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: