You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
What kind of light?
Yesterday morning at church part of me wanted to leave my seat to take photographs, but I recognized the fact that I would have become more of an observer than a participant, and I didn’t want to interrupt the depth and the beauty of the worship experience.
It was one of those mornings where the profound presence of God facilitates such a visceral emotional connection that the experience becomes overwhelming, and even Presbyterians find themselves standing with tears streaming down their faces, a lump in their throat, and – if they’re not careful – their hands in the air.
Part of it was the music, part of it was the preaching (thanks, Rebekah), part of it was the fact that the CLC was packed full with the worshipping community, part of it was the sense of unity that comes when we take communion together.
During the serving of the elements, I watched the people lining up to take the bread and the wine, and I couldn’t help but notice how many family groups – parents and children together – came forward, how many teens, how many young adults in their twenties and thirties, and I felt a great sense of joy, and promise. and expectation for our future as the Body of Christ.
Then, during the Sunday-school hour, my discipleship class had its best attendance to date… and we were interrupted several times by youth leaders scrambling for chairs because so many high-school teens showed up… and the confirmation class has 31 8th-graders… and there’s this palpable shift in momentum around here, an ongoing initiative of the Holy Spirit that has this entire campus buzzing like a power-grid substation humming with so much voltage it makes your hair stand on end just standing around.
Photos from the weekend:
Overall it was a busy weekend, so I’ll summarize with a few photos. This first image is from Saturday evening, when Rebekah was asked to officiate at a simple wedding ceremony in the living room of a beautiful home. Hank and Brenda Patrick have been an important part of the life of WFPC for many years, and when their son’s wedding at the North Carolina Arboretum was washed out by the relentless rains, they quickly relocated to their home.
There is a special closeness when people take their vows in a family home; and I was conscious of the privilege of being invited to share in the intimacy of such an occasion. More and more, Rebekah and I being drawn into the heart of the people here in Wake Forest; and – more and more – we are falling in love.
Finally, I have to post this image from our daughter, Naomi – just before the family headed to church yesterday morning. It was World Communion Sunday, and so Rebekah and I were able to share our experience of unity with our children and grandchildren in Richmond, as well as Andrew and Alicia, breaking bread together in Uzbekistan, nine time zones to our east.
Through everything I have shared in this post, the power of the witness of Christian unity is hard to miss. In her sermon, Rebekah pointed out how critically important it is that we allow the light of Christ to shine in and through us in this dark world. There is no better witness for Jesus than to love our brothers and sisters; there is no greater threat to the Kingdom than our division.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid…”
In love, and because of love – DEREK