Angie, who was leading, at one point led us in a reflection. On the floor in the middle of the church was a map of the world on silver foil. Angie encouraged us to think of someone or a place that was struggling with darkness. We were then to light a tea light and put it on the map.
The person who immediately came to my mind was a friend of mine struggling with mental illness. But, after I had put the lit tea light on the map and sat back in my chair, watching as the map filled with these little lights, I thought of so much more. I thought of those trapped in slavery, abuse, hunger. Those in war torn countries, those running from war. Children without families. People without friends. The harm inflicted on people by other people.
And as I watched the map fill, I thought to myself... this is a lovely image. A lovely metaphor. But what would it look like to bring light into those places, into those peoples' lives? I'm not dismissing the power of prayer, we should pray, prayer works. But we are representing Jesus whilst we're here on Earth. So, therefore, we are representing the light of the world.
But how do we show that light? Philippians 2:14-16 says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”
My first reaction to this was: there must be more to bringing light to the world than not complaining… But then I acknowledged that I am a complainer. I moan, I whine, I grumble! What would my life look like if I decided to stop grumbling and complaining? Let's see. There's something about living differently to those around you. This verse is relevant today, there's no denying our generation can be pretty warped and crooked. So if we hold firmly to the word of God and live how Jesus taught us to live, we will stand out. We will be the shining lights in the dark sky.
How else? Matthew shows Jesus saying to his followers, “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-15). Good deeds are quite obvious. But this is more than just doing your “good deed of the day”. This is doing good deeds to show people Jesus, to point them to God.
So let's look for opportunities to do good, let's ask for opportunities to do good. Let's not hide the light we have been given. Because there is so much darkness in the world. So much depression. So much pain. But we can't let it overwhelm us. John 1:5 says “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” So pray that God will shine through you.
Pray that he will bring light to the world, and then be that light. Show kindness to strangers. Show love to your friends. Try not to complain. Leave people better than how you found them. Fight for what is right. Give voice to the voiceless. Stand for justice. Sign petitions. Write to your MP. Do SOMETHING. The world needs light. The world needs Jesus. The world needs you.