“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
-Matthew 5: 14- 15
“You are the light of the world.” Jesus starts with having us think big, not our town or church but the world. But how can I be the light of the world? Through your words you can touch the world. News today can be terrorism this, police violence that, but it is also filled with good Samaritans. Normal people doing things or saying things that touch the world – being a light to the world. Anne Frank wrote, “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” A single light, a single person, can change the darkness of our world; can defy it in strength born from God’s words. One candle can illuminate a room, except I want to be more than just a flickering flame; I want to be a raging fire. I want God’s love to be so burning within me that it spills over to my works and words. I want to be a bonfire that pops sparks to other tinder just waiting for that first combustion of God’s love. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Trust God with your words, and see Him shine through you and touch others.
The next comparison is “A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” A good way to picture this is the Edinburgh Castle at night. It is beacon to all those around, a sign of light in the night. This how we want our church to be, a beacon in the hardships of life in the night. A sanctuary in which to grow our light. However, we can’t grow until our words of hope reach needy ears. To be a city lit for those in the dark to come to and see the truth, the way, and the life; we need to work together, shine together, speak love together. Together we are strong, together with our God in Heaven and the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Be so good they can’t ignore you. Built on a hill we cannot be hidden, our foundation is strong, built on the rock of Jesus Christ. The winds of life may roar but we will not be shaken from our foundation. The floodwaters may rise but we are on a hill, we will not be washed away and we will not water down our message. Our light will remain lit bright; it will not be dimmed by the floods of life.
The next part of our light is, “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.” We each have the ability to shine, with the personalized gifts, God has given us, but we sometimes allow the world to distract us. God has lit each of our lamps, but we allow stress and frustration to take over and hide it under a bowl of the world. I can’t say to totally put away all stress because we live in the world, but we are not part of the world. We will always feel the pull to put our light under a bowl, but with God we have the strength not succumb to the darkness of the world, but to brighten it. To do that, we need to take a stand to put our lamps on a stand.
Jesus has also been taking our perspective from bigger groups to smaller ones: the world, a town, the house. At the center is you, change starts with you. God has created all, and will help you with all, if you allow Him to, if you allow Him to lead. We are to reflect and share Jesus’ light, but how can we do that if we don’t allow Him to show us where to aim the light? A lighthouse won’t help the lost boat if it shines the wrong way. We not only need to open our eyes to God, but allow Him to light our path.