Matthew 5:14-15 (New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
I am not known for being a patient person; I am envious of those of you who are patient. In this season where we wait for answers to our denominational troubles that won’t come any earlier than next May – I am extremely impatient. People will be hungry between now and May. People will need a 12-step program, a shoulder to cry on, a prayer meeting, a visit while in the hospital. People will need inspiration and courage for the journey. People, including me, will need a community around them to see, know, and witness to God’s love in this world. We don’t need to wait even one moment to give or share any of this.
When Jesus was instructing the people that were around him during his sermon recorded in Matthew, he first started with the ones closest to him, his disciples. He told them “YOU are the light of the world.” Jesus didn’t say “I am the light of the world”. He said, “YOU are the light of the world”. And we recognize that by the time his sermon ended, all kinds of people who weren’t close to Jesus had gathered around to hear. They overheard this statement from Jesus, and overhead the work he gave the disciples – they were to be the light of the world.
Jesus also told them a CITY on a hill cannot be hidden – a group of people. Not one individual light on its own, but a whole blessed city! And then he talks about our homes, our families -there too, we light up for each other, taking out the light so the whole home can see it.
Jesus is saying that together, in small groups, in homes, and in whole cities, WE are the light of the world. We are the light the world will see. Does the light sometimes flicker, as we struggle with how to give off good, steady light? Yes. Does the light shine better and more cohesively when we are all working on it together – individually, as families and small groups, and as whole cities full of people? YES.
We cannot fail to shine the light that is needed in this world, even if we are struggling. We can acknowledge the struggle, AND still be there for people who need us. We can pray and walk and build relationships with the people who surround us in our churches and love them like today may be the only day someone will hear they are loved. We are sent into the world to be light, and that work continues to and through next May, and beyond. This is the work that Jesus gave us, his disciples, and even to those who are watching us, and overhearing Jesus through us.
May God continue to bless our journey to bring all the light we can manage through our churches, families, and friends.