Congregations who follow the lectionary have been spending time in the gospel of Matthew this year. Two weeks ago, the text was from Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus tells his followers, “You are the light of the world.” Notice that he isn’t offering an aspiration – “you should try to be the light of the world—but an affirmation: “you are.” Jesus isn’t commanding us to become something, but commending us for what we already are: the light of the world. I believe that now, more than ever, the Maine Council of Churches needs to remember we, too, are the light of the world.
At night, the human eye can see the light from a single candle from as far away as two miles. The darker the night, the more clearly the light can be seen, and the more dearly it is needed. We mustn’t forget that, especially at the darkest hour, even the smallest light, the flicker of just one candle’s flame, can be seen for miles around.
During these difficult times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged as we are pulled in so many different directions: to resist, to speak out, to react, to express outrage, to feel compassion, to stand in solidarity. But as a candle’s flame stays centered on the wick that provides its source of fuel, we must stay centered in our calling and in the One who calls us, to inspire others to join in building a community of compassion, justice and peace.
We are leading people of faith here in Maine to do just that:
- By speaking against the Executive Order banning travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries (see articles in the Bangor Daily News http://bangordailynews.com/2017/01/30/news/state/maines-religious-leaders-condemn-trumps-immigration-ban/ and Lewiston Sun-Journal http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2017/01/31/bishop-robert-deeley-condemns-trumps-immigration-orders/2069108 , and a lovely letter of support from Diana Cundy)
- By organizing a statewide interfaith prayer vigil for a moral budget on Wednesday, February 22, at 11:30am in the Hall of Flags at the State House
- By joining together with the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice and Preble Street Faith Action Network to host the first “Maine Interfaith Advocacy Days” in Augusta on March 27-28 in order to inspire and equip laity and clergy with the tools they need to advocate effectively with legislators on the issues of hunger, homelessness, health care and climate justice. (click here to register)
- By assisting faith communities across the state who are seeking new pastors or staff members by listing job postings on our website
- By working with the VA chaplain to offer clergy training on moral injury in veterans
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 God in heaven.