“You are the light of the world. A city 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 all people, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16
This short passage has become a theme of ours at Central as we get into the beginning stages of our new Ignite Initiative. We’re calling this the Church’s beautiful vision and glorious mission.
The light of the world. The city on a hill. The lamp that gives light to everyone. Let your light shine. Jesus is quoting from the prophets here. The beautiful vision Isaiah gives us: You will be a light to the nations, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, to release those who sit in darkness. Isaiah’s glorious mission: I will make you a light to all nations that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
Jesus teaches us our role as his people to shine this light of life into the dark corners of the world. And he also shows us what it looks like. His life and ministry are singularly about shining that light.
He lays his hands on the crippled woman and heals her. He eats dinner with the Pharisees and the prostitutes. He interacts with and serves those Samaritan lepers. He stays with Zacchaeus and calls him a son. Jesus looks at the sinful woman in Simon’s house and says, “Your sins are forgiven.” He says, Let the little children come to me with their sticky hands and their runny noses and they crawl all over him and he holds them and hugs them and blesses them.
When the world acts to condemn, our Lord moves to forgive. When the culture says you don’t matter, Jesus says you’re my child. When society says I don’t care about you, Christ says what can I do for you? Where the world seeks to injure, Jesus seeks to heal. When the culture says I hate you, Jesus declares I love you.
Everywhere our Lord goes, everywhere he is, he shines the light of love and forgiveness, he brings the Kingdom of grace and hope. In a culture of hate and violence and lies, Jesus is love and mercy and truth. He brings it. He lives it. And people are blessed and the world is changed.
What a beautiful vision! What a glorious mission!
Central Church of Christ is announcing a renewed commitment to this beautiful vision and a bold invitation to join together in the next stage for us on the glorious mission. The Bible tells us that without a vision the people will perish and without a mission the people will lose their way. Our clear vision has shown us new directions and new opportunities for the mission. We have new ideas in our determination to be that bright city on the hill for Amarillo and the world. And the vision is giving us the courage to speak and to ask when it would be a whole lot easier to just stay where we are.
Click here for more information on Ignite. Click here for directions on how best to pray for what we’re doing. Click here if you want to give. And may our Lord bless us to boldly shine his light into the dark places of our city and, by his grace, throughout his world.