He (Jesus) said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” Mark 4: 21 – 22
Don’t we all read or hear something at times, and then we can’t get it off our minds? Often it is important enough that it stays with us, lays on our hearts, and we promise that we’ll never let ourselves forget it! I heard such a message yesterday in our worship service, and I want to share it with you.
It was a wonderful service, as always, and it began with beautiful music from violinists, singing, children lighting candles symbolizing the light of Christ, and then the reading of the Scripture passage from Mark 4: 21 – 25. Then our minister began his sermon by telling us about an email he had received from someone this past week with the above verses. He explained that it had really convicted his heart, and you could hear the emotion in his voice as he talked about its content.
The email had come from a church member who had received a letter from a missionary in Iraq and in it, the missionary had described the dire conditions of Christians at the hands of ISIS terrorists. He expressed his sadness and grave concern that believers in Iraq are being systematically eliminated for refusing to renounce their faith and convert to Islam. They are literally being held at knife or gun point, asked if they will deny their Christian beliefs and if not, they are beaten, tortured, and killed without delay.
Can our minds even begin to comprehend the despair and fear other Christians must be experiencing knowing what their fate and that of their children will be? What would we do in a similar situation? What would our answer be? Would our faith and courage become so weak that we would deny the Savior we love and call our own?
Do we even begin to understand a situation in which Christians in Iraq are being murdered for standing up for their faith, and Christians in our nation are too embarrassed to even admit that they are a believer in Christ? Why are we not willing to put our light “out on a stand” and tell the world about the life they can have in Him? Our faith is not a secret to be hidden and kept quietly for ourselves – it’s a gift that should be shared with the world. A world that is crying out in the darkness for hope, peace, comfort, and love.
Rev. Queen reminded us that some Christians say their faith is a private matter that they do not wish to discuss with others. Some are even uncomfortable admitting that they are Christians or confessing their faith. They fear they might be looked down upon and thought to be intolerant and narrow-minded. But private faith becomes what we want it to be, not what God says it should be. God values and desires authentic faith that is personal and real to us, so real that we want others to know what we have. We want them to know our Savior, His love, and His saving grace.
The point was also made that the amazing thing about our Christian faith is that sometimes words aren’t even necessary to share our light with others. They can see the glow of His love in the goodness of our hearts. They can see Christ in us as we live out our lives and show His love and grace to others. They see our faith as we worship Him and are faithful to His Word and His truths. Our lives shine brightest in the darkness when our hearts are focused on Him.
It was such a heartfelt and powerful message as Rev. Queen ended with the words that were sung at the beginning of the service:
“Carry your candle. Run to the darkness. Seek out the hopeless, the tired and worn. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle. Go light our world.”
May we let our love and our light shine in the darkness. Go light your world!
Our Lord of light, our hearts are burdened by the treatment of our fellow believers around the world. We pray for your presence and your protection with them, and for the hearts of such evil men. May we be strong in faith and let our lights shine in the darkness. Amen