We’ve been studying the Gospel of John at Redeemer for the last several weeks, each week seeing a different facet of Jesus’ life and ministry.  In John Ch. 9 we see Jesus as the Light of the world.  In fact, John opens his Gospel with the words, “the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9).  In the Nicene Creed, we profess Jesus as “Light of Light.” Quite simply, we recognize that Jesus is the very source of all light – even when God said “Let there be light!” in the third verse of Genesis, Jesus was its source. Likewise, Jesus is our source of light.  When we baptize someone at Redeemer we give them a lit candle.  This is to signify that Christ is the light that came into the world, and now that they have received that light in baptism, they are to become light-bearers, and bring that light into a dark world.

At Redeemer by the Sea, our mission is to be a “lighthouse to our community and the world.” Even our building has a design that resembles a lighthouse, which is fitting since our church is on top of a hill not far from the ocean.  Clearly we have the light of Christ in our midst, but how are we doing at shining that light into a world of people that seem to be increasingly walking in the dark?  The news reveals to us the kind of darkness that surrounds us, and recent trends in the Church indicate that more and more of this generation are finding themselves wandering away from the church, into a world which spurns the light of Christ.

In the book You Lost Me (2011) author David Kinnaman laments the fact that young adults in increasing numbers do not consider the churches they were raised in as “safe and hospitable places” and that many of those will leave the church and even the faith.  Clearly there are cultural forces at work, he notes, but it’s also clear that the Church cannot just dismiss this problem as a sign of the times and then hunker down in our holy-huddles (my words, but his sentiment).  In fact, he challenges churches to recognize that we are “not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ faithfully in a rapidly changing culture.”

What all this means to me is simple.  It means that the Church, and especially we at Redeemer – with our mission to be a “light-house” – must intentionally find ways to bring the light of Christ to the lost and searching in the world.  We have the Light which brightens our way and directs our steps out of the darkness and into God’s marvelous light! It’s a Light that this generation desperately needs as they search in the dark.  It’s a light that we can’t just keep in our “house” but that we must carry to “our community and to the world.”  Join me in praying that God will make our light shine brightly so that more will see and know Him! And that He will move us to live our calling of being light-bearers.  … Hide it under a bushel? No!

… Illumine us, Lord Jesus.  Amen!