By Brett Anderson
I love how in the darkest of rooms, the moment you light the smallest candle, it can be seen from anywhere in the room. [Unless, of course, you’re hiding in a cupboard, but then, Narnia!] Whereas in the brightest of rooms, you add a little bit of darkness and … nothing much happens. You introduce a lot more darkness and things might get a little bit dimmer. Finally, you can flood the room with darkness, leaving just the smallest bit of light… and the light can still be seen.
I think sometimes we spend too much time trying to snuff out the darkness.
Especially as church leaders! When I was growing up it was all about “Don’t have sex before marriage” and “Don’t smoke” and “Don’t drink”. One theological college I considered going to even had a ‘Don’t dance’ rule. The outside world is never in too much doubt about the things we are AGAINST. But sometimes, we could do a little bit better at lifting up those things we are FOR.
What if we spent more time lighting lights together?
We’ve seen #RhodesMustFall, followed by #FeesMustFall and the latest popular one is #ZumaMustFall and as we look towards a stronger, more unified country, it is pretty clear that some things will need to fall in order for us to get there. But again, it tends to be quite a negative message.
What if we switched it around? The hashtag #SouthAfricansMustRise came to mind. If every single South African as an individual, and then as a family or community or church congregation made this their anthem, and committed to living lives that would back it up, how might things change? And what might fall in the background as a result?
What does South Africans rise look like? Well, I read this somewhere:
‘The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God. To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.’
I hear too many people try speak of ‘social justice’ as something outside of the kingdom message, but it’s not. Eternal life that begins now and justice are huge parts of the kingdom that have always been on God’s heart.
#SouthAfricansMustRise is a candle being lit, not a darkness being chased away.
P.S. A candle being lit ALWAYS means that some darkness is being chased away. Maybe not all of it, but some, and the next candle expels some more, and the next one. You don’t need to focus on darkness-chasing much at all when you’re busying yourself lighting candles.