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Fri 06 Jun

City Light: Friday, June 6

City Light


City Light. A week of intentional kindness.

How do I make time for that? What makes this different from just trying to be “extra” nice to people this week? I should always be kind to others, right? How is this going to point people to Jesus? Am I supposed to think of something “churchy” to say? Have a Bible verse on hand to share with a stranger? Initially, I was very excited about the idea, and potential of City Light, but unsure of how exactly to engage with it well.

If you grew up in the church a couple of decades back, you probably know the song “This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine…” a classic! Yes, a bit cliché now and yet I think at it’s core, it’s actually perfect when I think about this week, what it’s all about, and how it can challenge me in my day to day living even after City Light “officially” wraps up.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, The Message)

I love this. Sometimes I just need to hear things differently to be challenged in a fresh way.

Light dispels darkness. It changes things from black and white, and reveals deep and vibrant colours. Think of a sunset on a cool morning; watching the horizon shift from complete darkness into a beautiful scene as daylight enters, bringing with it warmth, colour, hope.

How am I “bringing out the God-colours in the world”? Am I aware of God’s presence in my life in the day to day enough to see where He’s at work and what He’s inviting me into?

I know that as a follower of Jesus, I have been entrusted with His message. Here at The Meeting House, we talk often about how Jesus came to show us His love, save us from sin, set up His kingdom, and shut down religion. But how do I share that message? Sometimes it might be through a conversation, but so often it’s in seemingly small opportunities to “be a light” to the people He puts in my path in the day to day.

I have discovered the most incredible gift in my relationship with God. A safe place. An identity as a daughter of the most high King who is deeply loved, gifted and valued. My prayer is that you know or are discovering that that this is true of you as well – that you are created by, loved and known by the God who made you and has a good plan for your life. What would our lives look like if we lived fully in that reality?

“…Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Be open. Live our lives with open hands. Keep an open house, be willing to invite others in to our chaos, our mess, our God-infused reality. Let people in.

I know I can so often be caught up in my schedule, the to-do lists and meetings, that I can miss opportunities for meaningful moments. When I do have a spare moment, I can be guilty of filling it with technology – of giving my attention to my phone, the latest text, news story or notification – instead of raising my gaze and seeing people.

I love that line, “by opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God.”

My job isn't to transform people, I'm called to be open with my life and allow others to catch a glimpse of the light, the difference Christ makes in my day to day, and allow Him to do the work of transformation.

How can I be open to others today? How can I see someone who is going unnoticed? Catch a stranger with an unexpected smile? Hold a door? Visit a neighbour I haven’t seen in a while? Pay for someone’s coffee? Ask someone’s name, listen to their story, ask about their life, share about mine. Sometimes, when I'm in a crowded mall or busy sidewalk, I like to play a game. I try to catch eyes with every person who walks by and just smile.

Sometimes they don't look up and see me, other times they do but don't acknowledge it. Other times, I can tell they're surprised, and every now and again they light up, look back and send a smile back my way. Occasionally it turns into a conversation, but most times it's just a fleeting moment. My hope is that it helps me to be open and that even in some small way, it points them to Christ in the midst of whatever circumstances they're in that day.

So today, start with a smile, pray for the people God puts in your path, be open to others and see what God wants to do - let's be lights.

Sarah Stanley
Sarah gets to hang out with the Jr. Highs at The Meeting House Oakville site. She has a heart for seeing students come to know Christ and embrace their identity in Him. Also...dodgeball and the Blue Jays. :) 


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