Read Genesis 1:1-6, 14-19
It makes sense that we would generally see light as good and darkness as bad. The scriptures often associate light with righteousness and darkness with hidden sin. Light is associated with joy. Darkness often symbolizes sorrow or confusion. But if we look deeper, beginning even with the very first chapter of the Bible, we see a more nuanced depiction of light and darkness.
The above metaphors abound but there are others. Even here, in Genesis 1, darkness is not villainized even as light is celebrated. Indeed, there is a place for the bright light of the sun as well as the dim illumination of the moon and stars. There is a temptation in ministry to have as much “bright light” as possible, even if you don’t have the budget for laser light shows. We want shiny happy people filling the pews. It doesn’t take much time in leadership to realize that this desire doesn’t line up with reality. As individuals and as churches we certainly experience joy. But, just as often, our ministries struggle. And on any given Sunday, the sanctuary is filled with many who are struggling in some form of darkness. They may not be helped by frequent messages about being happy and letting their lights shine. We’re called to minister “in season and out of season” and to meet people where they are instead of making them meet us.
- What have been some of the bright spots for your church lately?
- In what ways is your ministry experiencing darkness or wilderness?
- How do you feel about the difficulties your ministry may be facing?
- How has God brought you through dark times in the past? What did you learn?
Our Sunday worship is not the church (it’s the people!) but it is the most important moment each week in the life of the church as the people gather together to worship in united fellowship.
- Take a moment to thoughtfully examine your church’s Sunday worship (and other events). Is there too much sunshine (manufactured happiness) in your services? How might you achieve more depth on Sunday mornings by thinking about God working through the sunshine and the moonlight?
- Are there any ancient practices that you could incorporate into your services like scripture reading, lectio divina, silence, community prayer, etc…?