Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet 8 September 2019
I was at a Prayer Breakfast this morning with members of the Queensland Parliament which is meeting in Townsville, who identify as Christian. It was held at the delightfully situated Fish Inn at the bottom of Jezzine Barracks Hill on the Strand. From the restaurant, diners look straight over the Rock Pool to Maggie*. A couple of helicopters were buzzing around, with Surf Lifesaver inflatables and a larger rescue vessel manoeuvring beneath them. It was an exercise, not a real emergency.
We churchy folk sometimes view our evangelisation efforts (or “Mission”, as is the buzzword du jour) like that, darting around in the ocean of life looking for lost souls to save. And if we think that we haven’t met our mission KPIs (measured by new bottoms on pews divided by outreach activities), we become disheartened and conclude that we’re doing it all wrong at best, or are unprofitable servants at worst. But an Anglican priest friend recently quoted Anne Lamott in this very context:
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
How does Jesus put it in Matthew 5? “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” And, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Look, many folk have come to faith in Christ because someone took the trouble to go out to them, to look for them. But others of us have found Christ by observing the life of a mentor, or a work colleague, or a parent, a teacher, a neighbour, whoever, who just stood in place beaming out unconditional love to us as we encountered them in our own stormy emotional waters. So go on, hum to yourself, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”.
* The lovely Magnetic Island off Townsville is known affectionately and unsurprisingly as Maggie.