Our City: Be the Light

This week on June 21st we had the longest day of the year. I’m not talking about your work day but the longest amount of sunlight in a twenty-four hour period. It’s known as Summer Solstice or midsummer. This day occurs when the earth’s geographic pole is closest toward the sun.  For the northern hemisphere (where you and I live) this occurs some time between June 20nd and June 22st. Historically this day was originally celebrated as an ancient Greek pagan holiday but like many pagan traditions, the Christian Church “rechristened” the day to be St. John’s Day. John the Baptist was Jesus cousin who is believed to have been born six months before Christ. Thus, the summer solstice falls six months before Christmas, the day where we celebrate the birth of Jesus, which is another holiday with pre-Christian roots.

On the heels of the longest day of the year with the most light I can’t help but make the connection that Jesus gives us the instruction to be “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14.  Jesus is speaking to ordinary people like you and me. But it’s through ordinary people that God intends to get his work done on the earth today. I love telling people “God uses ordinary people to do his extraordinary work.”  We often miss  the instruction to be “light of the world” which is not the “light of the church.” What this means is that we have to get beyond the church and take the light into the dark world by being a witness for him in everything we do. Think about the fact that we were saved to shine his Glory!

This is not only an individual thing but also a corporate thing. Jesus talked about the strength of collective light. Just recently I was flying across the US at night and I was amazed that from forty thousand feet off the ground how bright the cities were against the dark skyline. Each person in a city with its lights on cast a glow across the sky that can not only be seen from forty thousand feet in the air but can be seen from outer space.

We not only shine for His glory but we also shine brighter when we shine together corporately.

Here at Restoration our calling has been to follow Christ by “joining God in the restoration of all things” and we believe we are able to fulfill that calling through; Life, Church, and City.  Right now we are in the season where we are focusing on being light to our city.

How will you shine for God’s glory? Jesus says to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:16) Salvation is not based off of good works but how we shine God’s glory comes out of the works that we do.  It’s to love the unloveable. It’s to show compassion to the wicked. It’s to help the poor. It’s to give strength to the weak. It’s to be a neighbor to those who are different than you. It’s to console the inconsolable. That is how we shine for God’s glory. It starts with you individual.