If you came to church on Friday afternoon as many of you did this past week, you may have seen people on high ladders racing to get their job done before the wedding at 3:30 pm. They were our electricians installing a series of bright spotlights along the periphery of the church so that we may deter intruders who may have nefarious intentions of breaking into the property. “It’s bright as daylight, pastor,” the electrician called me yesterday saying. “Those lights will light up your church so that everyone can see it from a distance. No one’s going break in without being seen.” I was glad for those lights which were indeed prompted after the break-in we experienced several weeks ago. But the thought he shared made me ponder. Jesus called His Church to be the uncompromising witness of His Word in our quickly darkening world. Lights turned on, shining His Word brightly, announcing His salvation clearly, and living out the gospel courageously in whatever place He has placed us. Then again, it is not only the church as an institution and much less as a building that needs to be “bright as daylight.” Our personal lives come first under the scrutiny of God’s Spirit to see if indeed we are light.
This week, I encountered a person who was unfaithful to his marriage. Another was angry and argumentative, picking a fight to bolster her cause. Still another was so deeply ignorant of God’s Word that nothing she did was tested against how the Scriptures called her to live. We are sorely in need of lights bright as day. Jesus pointed this out in a passage we seldom understand clearly. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23) To get this right, Jesus is not speaking about some ophthalmological problem but the problem with the soul that cannot see the goodness of God, cannot exercise the grace of God and cannot grasp the holiness of God. So we live comfortably with immorality, speak our mind darkly and live our lives without grace and thus without God. Then Jesus says, “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” It is not a darkness that is around us that is most to be feared. It is a darkness that is in us.
I left church late on Monday night. The lights were all on at 9:30 pm, and it was certainly “bring as daylight.” May it be so with our church as well as our own lives. It is only then that our witness as believers can be seen from a distance. It is only then that no one can break in without being seen. So, please. Live in the light.