At the moment the Discussion Group is meeting by Zoom at 7.30pm on Mondays. To receive the Zoom invitation please contact Owain using the Contact Us button.
20 September 2021
“The Light of the World…”
Matthew 5 : 14 – 16 You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after
lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but
on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the
house. In the same way, let your light shine before
others, so that they may see your good works and
give glory to your Father in heaven.
Last week the group decided that we’d look at Jesus’ saying from the Sermon on the Mount “You are the light of the world”.
It seemed like a good idea to go to one of the great commentators on the Sermon on the Mount – the German pastor, Theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945).
Here are some extracts from a sermon of his which lead us into the theme of “The Light of the World”. I’ve highlighted a key sentence or two in each extract, to help us zoom in to the theme of each one.
See what you think!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer – “Lessons from the ‘Sermon on the Mount’
1) Discipleship – BEING the light …
“Ye are the light.” [N]ot: You are to be the light :
they are already the light because Christ has called them …
Does this surprise us?
Isn’t it one of the things that people say puts people off the Church is the hypocrisy of Christians? That Christians act as though they’re better than everyone else? Think of Burn’ “Holy Willie”!
I bless and praise Thy matchless might,
When thousands Thou has left in night,
That I here before Thy sight,
For gifts and grace,
A burning and a shining light
To a’ this place.
Does this worry us? It probably should! But can we sometimes be too shy about our calling?
Jesus says to us “You ARE the light!” What’s going on?
What is it that makes us “the light”? Does this next bit help?
The same one who, speaking of himself, said, “I am the light,” says to his
followers: “You are the light in your whole existence, provided you remain
faithful to your calling. And since you are that light, you can no longer
remain hidden, even if you want to.” It is the property of light to shine.
2) The Church – LIVING AS the Light …
Now they must be what they really are – otherwise they are not followers
of Jesus. The followers are a visible community; their discipleship is
visible in action which lifts them out of the world – otherwise it would not be
discipleship. Flight into the invisible is a denial of the call. A community
of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him.
Does this mean that the calling of the Church is to be REALLY HIGH-PROFILE in the world? Or is it something different? Something in our own community on Bute? Something else? (There’s no right answer here! We all need to hear what you may think!)
What would that mean anyway?
How can we be a “visible community” the way Jesus calls us to be?
Maybe a good (if strange!) question is “What is the Church’s visibility FOR?” Think about this –
Is it not plain to the simplest hearer that the cross is the very place
where something extraordinary has been made visible? Did not the cross
become extraordinarily visible amongst all the darkness to the terrified
spectators? Are the rejection and suffering of Christ, his death before
the gates of the city on the hill of shame, not visible enough?
Are they what is meant by “invisibility”?
3) The Life of Faith in Action – NOT GETTING IN THE WAY of the Light …
It is in this light that the good works of the disciples are meant to be seen.
Men are not to see the disciples but their good works, says Jesus.
And these works are none other than those which the Lord Jesus himself
has created in them to be the light of the world under the shadow of his cross …
How can we do good in the world that people can see, without drawing attention to ourselves?
The cross, and the works of the cross, the poverty and renunciation
of the blessed in the beatitudes, these are the things which will become
visible … It is by seeing the cross and the community beneath it
that men come to believe in God. But that is the light of the Resurrection.
At the Discussion Group it is ‘written on tablets of stone’ –
THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID OF ASKING QUESTIONS – IT’S WAHT INTELLIGENT PEOPLE DO!
THOU SHALT NOT WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING THOU SAIDST – THERE ARE NO HERESY TRAILS HERE!
THOU SHALT NOT BE SHOCKED BY ANYTHING ANYONE ELSE SAYS!
THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID OF SAYING “I DON’T KNOW”!