by Pam Tinsley
The verse, “You are the Light of the World,” from Matthew 5:14 was the theme of my congregation’s 2018 Stewardship Campaign. What I like about this theme is that it helps us focus outward from within the church. Jesus calls us to live as the light of the world every day – not just during stewardship campaigns – and the theme captures the relationship between stewardship and ministry in daily life. Our stewardship brochure asked the questions “How does our church shape the rest of your week?” or “What does ‘being the light of the world’ mean to you?” We invited all members of the congregation to reflect on those questions during the month of November.
We also asked a handful of parishioners to share how they feel our church helps them to shine the light of Christ in the world. A small business owner said that her faithful Sunday worship and meaningful relationships within the church community help her to be a better wife, mother, grandmother, and a better boss. A millennial para-educator, who drives 30 minutes to attend our church, describes it as an anchor that rekindles her own lamp so that God’s light can shine through her when she pours herself out at a job she loves – but which is also a job filled with challenges. A high school teacher believes our communal worship helps him to recognize his students’ vulnerability as well as their sense of compassion and justice. During the week he seeks to bring God’s grace into his relationships outside the church. And a retiree realizes that she kindles the light of Christ through worship, study and service. Then she can be the light of the world outside of church walls and outside of church-related ministries when she helps at the local food bank and other community service activities.
I find it striking how those rather simple questions prompted such meaningful reflections. By sharing their own experiences in writing or during a worship service, others in the congregation were invited to reflect more deeply on how they, too, might respond.
And now I invite you to consider:
- How does regular worship shape the rest of your week?
- What does “being the light of the world” mean to you?