Back in 1968, when I accepted Christ, the first church I attended was a Catholic church. It was not so much that I was a devoted Catholic, it was simply the only church I knew. If my family ever went to church, that was the one. Consequently, that’s where I went.
The environment there seemed so stifling to my new found faith that I sought other options immediately. The recurring thought as I looked around the sanctuary was, “They seem to serve a Christ on the cross, but my faith is in a risen Christ.”
Had I been raised as a devout Roman Catholic, I suspect my new faith in Christ would have adjusted to that environment with new meaning and new understanding for the liturgy. In fact, I would think, if anything, that my “light” should shine in that environment and not be removed. But that is speculation.
Often when you hear people discuss Peter, Paul, James and the others apostles, you hear them speak as though these men have abandoned the synagogue and their “worship” there. If that is the case, I would be very surprised for that is the one place their light could shine the brightest. That does not mean the local assembly of believers took a back seat, they did not. It simply means the religious system these men grew up in did not loose value or importance once they accepted Christ. On the contrary, it grew in value and importance. It was, in some sense, the “fields white for harvest.”
They were seeing for the first time the significance of the “good news.” The were understanding the Sabbath, the sacrifices, the festivals in a new manner – The spiritually significant manner which God intended.
Perhaps too often, we take our light, remove it from the darkness and cluster it with other lights. That results in a very bright environment, but it does nothing for the darkness outside.
I often wonder if my light shines in my neighborhood or if it only has brilliance when I am at church? In the workplace, is there a glimmer of light, or have we so removed ourselves unconsciously that the twinkle is gone and we simply blend in? Have we abandoned old friends because they don’t subscribe to our beliefs, or are we shining in their midst?
Uhm….where exactly does my light shine?