That’s what the lawn sign said in front of the United/Methodist church down the street. Doubtless the title of Sunday’s sermon. It got me thinking about the probable direction for the message.
One approach might be the sham religious life of the Pharisee. He is one full of holy posture and language, but no corresponding deeds of help and compassion. Jesus warned his friends to listen to what they say, but not to do as they do. His harshest words were reserved for the self-advancing hypocrites. When He looked at them He probably thought of that beautiful directive in Micah 6:8. Totally missed by these religionists.
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
The second strain of thought would have been in line with the frame of mind of most liberal churches. “Don’t appear so holy, so moderate and cautious in language that you turn off the average non-churchgoer. After all the plan is to invite them into services and activities in an inclusive, non-threatening fashion. You have to get the fish into the boat before you clean it up.”
But truly Jesus was not big on inclusiveness. The Gospel invitation was as broad as “whosoever will” but He said that He had come to bring a sword of division (Matthew 10). He said that it was the pure, unmixed, unadulterated faith and loyalty ‘as small as a mustard seed’ that would move mountains for the purposes of the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul reminded “what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6).
And without intending to sound pompous or self-assured folks, we are the light. We have an impact in unseen realms that is of intense significance. Often it is done by our simple presence, or by the plainest of things said or left unsaid. It draws the hungry and searching. It repels the rebellious, lustful and unbelieving. Can’t be avoided. We must be different, and in Christ-like ways established as we soak in His story and engage with Him devotedly in intimate prayer.
“If Jesus leads this army we will outshine the sun.”