I have a confession to make. When I got the email this morning reminding me it was my turn to do the Internlog, I cringed. This was not because it took me by surprise, I was aware last week I needed to start writing, but I was busy with other responsibilities. If there is any week in church work where being a “light” feels applicable, it is the week where Halloween and Bonfire Night coexist.
We, Interns, could have a whole lecture on what it means to be “the light of the world” and still not exactly agree on what it means (Matthew 5.14-16). What we could probably agree on is who is the light. It is Jesus (John 8.12). He illuminates the contrast of sin and hopelessness to show something better. So many New Testament verses use the analogy of Christians being a light or living in the light (Philippians 2.15, 1 John 1.6-7, etc.). Due to word count, my short, incomplete understanding of how Christians are to be a light. We are to imitate Jesus. Scripture tells us this so many places (Ephesians 4.32-5.2, Corinthians 11.1, etc.). We are to be little mini Jesuses! We are not supposed to do this privately, but in front of the world. When we focus solely on evangelising, maybe we miss part of what it means to be wholly a mini Jesus. Jesus lived in community with the apostles.
Community can bring so much joy and hurt. As an Intern who is new to Durham, my default community has become the church. I focus on how I can serve the body, witnessing to non-believers, and be a mini-Jesus. In my mind, this means being strong all the time. I forget Jesus received – dinner at Mary’s and Martha’s (Luke 10.38-42), and He wept (John 11.35). His reception and weaknesses blessed others.
Somehow, receiving and weakness are part of being a light. I am reminded of oil lamps.
If one oil lamp does not have enough oil then people can replenish it from other oil lamps. The light from many lamps is much stronger than a light from one lamp. The church community is made of many different lights. For me, the light might be as fun as fairy lights, like a three-year-old stopping her family to tell me goodbye as I left church. It can be as explosive as fireworks when I was reduced to tears after hearing two amazing sermons two weeks in a row on the gospel of John. It is as comforting as a night light when I got hugs, a hand hold, and listening ears when I cried. It can be as strong as a security light when someone took time to pray with me and reminded me that God works through our weaknesses. It is okay to be weak when the Spirit calls me to be weak. My mini-Jesus light is still shining with help from other lights around me.