Shining the Light of Christ
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a
There is a narrative in our culture that Christians are angry and judgmental. Perhaps, on occasion, people have not had to look very hard for examples to confirm that narrative. However, last week, city parks and school playgrounds, nursing homes and neighborhoods have been filled with children and adults clad in blue. For ten days, we have tried to re-write the narrative by serving our neighbor in love, in kindness, and in humility. More than 10,000 clad in blue SHINE! shirts (plus another 8,000 in Northern Illinois) served their communities because Christ has served us, by giving His life as a ransom for many.
Our prayer is that our groups would do more than just serve, but also have opportunity to confess that reason for which we serve. Since Christ loves and forgives us, we are free to love and serve others. This happened last week from Purdy to West Ely and from St. Joseph to Sikeston and so many places in between.
As SHINE! has continued to grow across the District, it has been a joy to note how people have learned from one another. Ideas were borrowed and used by other groups. Many groups have been encouraged by what they have seen others do that led to their involvement. I have been especially encouraged by two things I saw this year. The first was a SHINE! event that included three different congregations serving together as a “Shared Ministry” project because they were able to do more together than they could separately. The second was a SHINE! event where the large group was divided up into family groups so that parents and children were serving together. It is my prayer that SHINE! helps us to see what is possible by God’s grace and that serving in our communities, working with other congregations and families growing and serving together would not be a one-time event, but simply part of the ongoing life of all our congregations.
Prayer – Savior of the nations, come and inspire Your people to be faithful witnesses to Your great salvation. Make us mindful of the callings that you have given to us to bear Your name to the world. May we all be instrumental in leading many to Christ and His saving cross; in Your most holy name. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan