Jesus invites us to rise and shine!
Day 16: Matthew 5:14-16
You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
What a great pep talk! Jesus tells his disciples that they carry the light of God’s truth. They are called to deliver a message of hope to all the world. They must not hide the truth or keep it to themselves. They need to reveal God’s truth in both word and deed, so that people will believe in God and rejoice in him.
The whole world is watching the followers of Jesus. People then and now want to believe that God is real. They want to believe in the power of goodness. They want to believe in miracles, changed lives, and diving healing. They want to believe that God can save and deliver them from evil and hardship. That there is more to life than just daily struggle and materialism. That love will ultimately conquer all. That peace and harmony will eventually prevail. Jesus trusts his disciples to “rise and shine” and be reflections of God’s light.
This is such a great motivational scripture that it has been co-opted by American politicians and routinely quoted during presidential election campaigns. It is used in the context that America is the great city on the hill, as though America is the New Jerusalem described in Isaiah. I’m not so sure this is an appropriate use of this scripture.
To me, this says we have a great capacity to do good things and make the world a better place. We are all called to be bearers of good news about how God has revealed himself to each us. We are called to encourage others by sharing our trials and triumphs. We are called to inspire others with our spiritual experiences and revelations. We are called to celebrate life even when others are cursing the darkness. We can be joyful about life even when the going gets difficult. We can love each other even if we are all a little imperfect.
Jesus believes in his disciples; he has faith in each of us! This scripture says to go for it! Don’t be ashamed! Reach out to people. Share your faith. Open up your heart. Be transparent. Give testimonies about the miracles you have seen and the ways in which God has saved and rescued you. Affirm the goodness of God’s creation, and illuminate the ways in which he is actively transforming the world. Worship with freedom. Get outside of your comfort zone. Help others. Love freely. Be an optimist. Cast a light on the bright side of things. Don’t be afraid to shine in the darkness. Be light. Like the song says, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!!!
What does this scripture say to you?