Everywhere we look, it seems as though our planet is turning in upon itself, exchanging light for darkness. Yet we also encounter darkness much closer to home as we consider our own experience in this difficult and challenging world. For we, too, understand the horrors that this life brings us as we struggle with illness, as we deal with the loss of loved ones, as we watch families succumb to separation and divorce, as we struggle to make sense of many of the evil things in our society and culture.
Yet amid this landscape of moral bankruptcy and spiritual darkness, in the midst of all this external and internal noise, we hear Jesus’ words to each of us:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt: 5:14-16). What do these verses teach us about how we are to live and how, as Christians, what we do impacts how others see God?
Sitting by the Sea of Galilee that day under the hot sun, how would Jesus’ audience have understood His words? Those who heard His words knew all about light and darkness. Certainly they had much darkness to fear. They lived under Roman occupation, in a militarized society that despite their lack of telephones and computers and the World Wide Web, in many ways was as efficient as our own, and in some ways even more terrifying.
The Romans were everywhere, reminding the masses on the hillside that those who insisted on making trouble quickly would find their way to the torturers – and to a naked death on a Roman cross.
And yet, here was Jesus, calling them to live as light. To be merciful. To be pure in heart. To be makers of peace. Christian education must, then, include teaching our students to be lights in the world, to be able to make choices and decisions that will reveal the reality and goodness of God to others.
|What are ways that we can, indeed, point others to the reality and goodness of God?|