We often think about how a light shines in the darkness and we are comforted. From a young age light was the source of comfort and safety. As little children we begged our parents to leave the light on as we fell asleep. We were sure the light would keep monsters away from nibbling on our toes during the night. Growing up, the light always was a sign of good things. But light is not always a sign of something good. It can also reveal sin and evil. Consider today’s Gospel Reading:
Luke 8:16-21 (RSV) - The Lord said, "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away." Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you." But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
Light shines on our Churches. It shines on the good and the bad. When a Church is an example of love and faithfulness to God, the light reflects God’s light and others are drawn to the Church. When a Church is an example of sin and selfishness, the Church no longer reflects God’s light but is exposed with sin, and others who seek the Lord are driven away.
If your Church is not growing, one thing to consider is how the life the Church members is reflected in God’s light. Is the life of each member drawing others to Christ or away from Him? Nothing that is hid shall not be made manifest.....something to think about when it comes to Church growth.