On The Light Side
Recently, I had the opportunity to drive the church bus to the gas station. The mission was a short one. Go to the gas station, get gas, and come back. Easy…right? Well, when you drive a huge van that says on the side, “Edenton Street United Methodist Church,” you immediately get the sense that maybe you should drive like back when your drivers-ed instructor was in the passenger seat. As fate would have it, a big event had just let out from the sanctuary and the parking lot was filled with people in suits and ties. It wasn’t before I left the church parking lot that I realized I had cut someone off. (I actually didn’t realize that the back of a van was as long as Noah’s Ark) I want to pause at this point and suggest that we should consider a very dark tint on the bus windows.
As I pulled out onto McDowell street my prayer life increased. “Lord please don’t let that person know who’s driving. And, please don’t let them go in the same direction.” Oh no. They are. “Lord please don’t let them pull into to the same gas station.” Too late .Those prayers went unanswered…at least not in the way I had prayed
Instead, as I got out and I started to fill my tank the lady who pulled in behind walked over and said, “So what’s going on with all the black suits coming from church?” (Breathing easier…she doesn’t go to church there) She was very polite and after exchanging names, she said, “Oh, I know you.” (heart rate accelerated again) “Someone in a homeless shelter where I lived a year ago gave me your name and said you could probably help me get on my feet. I called but never heard back from you.” Inside I felt very bad that I had let this woman down, but resolved to do what I can at this point. She left me with her number. As we both left the station I decided to call…as soon as I returned the ark. I did. We talked and I invited her to church.
We leave our churches quickly some days. Restaurants fill up fast and the preparation for beginning another week takes over. The picture that comes to mind is light. Actually, light invading darkness. I’m told that the speed of light is around 186,000 miles per second. The speed of darkness is said to be the same when light chases it away. This past week I made my way to our main sanctuary where the service had already began, with a crowd so large that even the lobby was overflowing with people coming to celebrate 200 years of light…from our church. I walked up into the rear balcony and looked out over the packed pews below. Light everywhere. Kids dancing. Light. Choir worshiping…light. Pastors preaching…light. Jesus transforming, empowering, and forgiving…light, light, light.
Now take that same light and watch the power as it permeates our entire city…and world for that matter, as our influence is wider than we’ll ever know. Especially in the age of connectedness through what I like to call, “The World Wide Web.” (Hoping that title catches on) It’s a unique thing that the church service is over but Church service begins. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10
A point to ponder: Light actually travels faster through transparent substance. No need to edit your story to impress. God is the impressive one.