VotD 1/30/19

There’s a hymn, “Gather Us In,” that includes the lyrics “We have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.” When I first heard that lyric, I thought it was a little egotistical. It puts us, we who have gathered to sing the hymn, above all others as the ones who are the light for all humanity. But here’s the verse itself in Matthew 5:14 – “You are the Light of the world.” Does Jesus mean that we are the ones who can save the world? Not directly, but he does mean that we have a message – a message full of good news – that can save the world. Jesus’ salvation is “light” in the sense that it exposes things that were previously hidden, makes life easier by allowing us to observe what’s around us, and makes us more joyful – just as summer sun brings more general feelings of happiness than winter doldrums. We shine for others to bring these feelings to others. It’s part of our service to them, not a way for us to exalt ourselves over them. If we boast about anything, let’s boast about all the great things God has ever done for us, to encourage others to think about the great things God has done for them. If we’re set up as an example for others, let’s use our visibility to do good things for God so that others can see the joy in our lives and find a way to get that joyful relationship with God for themselves, and in doing so honor God. Jesus tells the crowds just a few sentences later, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”