I once heard someone compare the church to a construction company. He said that just as in the construction business there are people whose job it seems to be to tear down and others whose job it is to build up. Unfortunately, sometimes in the church they are working on the same project!
What is always needed in the church are more people with a passion for building up. What is needed are not more people to stand back and point at the darkness, but to shine God’s light in places where it may have never shined before.
In Robert Fulghum’s book, “It Was on Fire When I Lay Down On It,” Fulghum describes Alexander Papaderos, who is a modern day light bearer. On the island of Crete, next to the mass graves of Germans and Cretans who fought each other in World War II, Papaderos has founded an institute for peace that has become the source of bridge-building between the two countries. He writes:
“When I was a small child, during the war we were poor and lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place…I kept one, the largest piece… By scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine – in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became mature, I grew to understand that this was a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – truth, understanding, knowledge – is there, and it will shine in many dark places only if I reflect it. I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of the world… and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise.”
For those of us who have experienced the power of God in our lives, we too have the responsibility of shining light into dark places. The light doesn’t originate with us, but God has fashioned us to be mirrors, so we might reflect his love and his light into the ordinary days and ordinary lives of the people around us.