One Sunday morning several years ago, I had a daydream (vision?) of everyone around me holding a glowing candle. It was such a beautiful and bright picture, almost like a bonfire when we were all together, but outside was just darkness.
Strangely, when we were done with our service, we were snuffing out our candles on the way out, only to relight them a week later when we came together again.
I remember thinking, what would it look like if we left those candles burning when we left the building? What if when we dispersed, the light was dispersed with us? My husband once called it a “gospel swarm” - wouldn’t that be what it would look like? A swarm of gospel lights in every neighborhood, school, business, and coffee shop?
We are children of Light, living flames that push back the darkness and light up the night with the love of Christ!
COVID has basically pushed us out of the building. Are we heeding the call to take His light into our everyday lives, or did we snuff out our candle the last time we left the building and we’re just waiting until we can get back in before we relight it?
The point is not the bonfire. The point is the swarm.
The source of the light is the Spirit, not the church building.
The bonfire is meant for us to warm and encourage each other before we go out to swarm again. To fan into flame the fire that burns in our hearts. Many of us desperately miss that bonfire, in fact every authentic Christian should miss gathering for worship. But were we so busy gathering in buildings that we missed the mission? Were we so busy gathering around the bonfire that we stopped seeing the world around us stumbling in the darkness?
For far too long we have made the bonfire the point. And in making the bonfire the point we’ve poured all our resources into attempting to make it the most amazing blaze the world has ever seen. We hope to attract other torches by making our bonfire better than the rest. Meanwhile young people are leaving the church in droves. Meanwhile people around us are desperate for hope. Meanwhile, the Church is missing the point entirely.
Here’s the problem - the world doesn’t care about our bonfire because the light is not reaching them. They’re shivering out in the cold with nothing to warm them while we are sitting in the light of the gospel, warmed by the fire of the Spirit.
It’s time for the swarm. God has pushed us back into our homes and neighborhoods and we need to make this verse a reality in our lives - “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)
God has turned our buildings inside out. He is calling us to do more than attend church, He is calling us to be the Church.
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