What Kind of Light is That?

Psalm 89:4–37, Matthew 5:13–16, Philippians 4:4–9 (read online ⧉)

Psalm 89 talks about people who walk in the of the face of God. This is somewhat associated with both Moses having to wear a veil (Exodus 34:29–35 ⧉) and the Levitical (Numbers 6:22–27 ⧉). The of the face of God is transformative for those who seek to , value and glorify God. The psalm talks about the particular people rejoicing in God’s name and being “lifted up” due to God’s righteousness (not their own). God also becomes their and protection.

The Christian thinking that goes along with , especially when we read the passage in Matthew, is often sloppy. Perhaps it comes from simple, joyous, and fun songs such as, “This Little Light of Mine.” It is partially the individualistic salvation story that we are familiar and comfortable with as Westerners (especially, Americans). It is also this generic term that is often said without really thinking about exly what “” means. The use in many ways, so if we are going to be using such a generic “”, we’d better define it. Yet, we often leave it to, “oh, you know what I mean.” And that, dear Framily, is exly the problem. In the Western world, religious familiarity (of the useful kind, not antagonism) is fading. We can’t say, “oh, you know what I mean,” anymore, because most people don’t know what you mean!

Jesus’ City on a Hill parable is based on a historical white stone city on a hill. It shined brightly when it reflected the sun. It couldn’t be hidden. Something so white and on a hill could only hide at night when the moon was covered (clouds, cycle, or orbit). If it has been a long time since you’ve been (or if you have never been) away from city s, the of the moon shines on many things. A white city on a hill would shine even in the night, as long as the moon itself was shining. Jesus then commands us to “shine our ” before all humanity! The we are to shine is not “the of Jesus”. It is the of lives transformed by Jesus.

How does someone show that their was transformed by Jesus? The passage from ’s letter to the Philippians provides some ideas. Some of them might even be counter-Christian-cultural! Rejoice in God always, even when society appears to be going against you. Be gracious to (just as God was gracious to you). Don’t worry about anything. When you bring requests to God, first be thankful. Oh, and God will you peace that makes no sense. Then think about and dwell upon good things: truth, , just, pure, lovely, commendable. Having a with these chareristics would definitely make you counter-cultural, often even in the .

1) What would be your definition of “being the ,” if you had to explain it to an unbeliever who has never heard from Jesus? Now, think about what you said. Would somebody even listen to it?

2) What are some other habits/chareristics that you think “shine the ”? Are they your chareristics?

3) ’s list about what to dwell on is often missed by the . Why do you think that is?

Action: Add a daily price to find something positive to dwell on particularly in your family or .

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.