The History of Light
Sep 22, 2021 | 5 min read | Paul Williams
“Let there be light.”
These four words rolled across the expanse that would burst into a universe of brilliant light and begin all space and time. It is impossible to imagine the scene. With those simple words, God began a story that included his very own creation and people he loved. History began.
Just this past month, my wife and I were day-wandering in the Czech countryside and found ourselves looking back at history. We discovered a small, 250-year-old church in the town square of a village named Hukvaldy. This is not unlike much of old-world Europe. Small churches or even grand cathedrals mark a religious history dating back hundreds of years. Even inside the small chapel of sleepy Hukvaldy, there is an ornate beauty within its walls and a reverence for the holiness of God.
Sitting high on a mount above the Hukvaldy church are castle ruins dating back to the 1270s. In the center of the castle grounds is another small chapel named after the apostle Andrew. It’s a sanctum within the castle walls that today is used for concerts and cultural events.
Despite the splendor of many European sanctuaries, most of these churches are not filled with disciples that are seeking the lost. In our excursion that day, I could not help but think about the emptiness and darkness of society as represented by empty churches. The Light of the world in Jesus still needs to shine into the lives of the people. Churches need disciples to be made. The lost need someone to be sent to tell them of the glorious light of Jesus.
The Hukvaldy castle is now a remnant of its former glory, but one can’t help but wonder about those who walked the castle grounds over the last 700 years and whether they knew the God who spoke the surrounding countryside into existence. Was there someone who shared the unchanging truth of the gospel with the Hukvaldians over the centuries?
Recently, I was listening to a podcast and the host asked a couple of challenging questions. He asked, “What if we knew that Christ was returning in five years? What would we do right now? Wouldn’t it change everything that we hold dear? Would it make some things so much more urgent?”
In those questions, the host captured some of the foundational reasons why we are tuned to this calling and mission. Despite all the uncertainty of the world, if the Gospel is true (and indeed, it is!), then what we as fellow believers do right now impacts the Kingdom.
In Jesus’ notable Sermon on the Mount, he referred to his followers as being lights of the world and encouraged them to let their light shine before others. So, I ask myself what does that look like in my daily life? How do I shine my light before others? Is it different just because I’m a missionary with JV?
I don’t think it is too complicated.
Jesus asks all of us to shine our light with those with whom we make contact. Whether it be a store clerk or neighbor or our Uber driver, God has said to “let there be light” before each of them.
The apostle John, who walked arm-in-arm with Jesus, talks about light and God. He told us that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. When God said, “Let there be light,” he was not only illuminating the heavenly bodies, but also giving himself to mankind and to us personally. We have all walked in darkness, but when Jesus floods us with his radiance and cleanses us from our sin, that is when we begin to walk in the light, as he is in the light.
That is our calling and that of our fellow staff of Josiah Venture.
This calling includes sharing the light of truth, hope and redemption with the youth of Central and Eastern Europe and with store clerks, neighbors, and Uber drivers. Let each of us have our lights shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.
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