Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” -Matthew 5:14-15
“Security scan in section 4, security scan in section 4!”
That’s what we heard blaring through the speakers in the store. There was only one other family in the whole place. So, instinctively, Hannah looked at me and asked, “Is that about us? Are we in section 4?” I was dismissive, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not a big deal. Now, what size did you say you needed?”
But, to be perfectly honest, I was thinking about it. Was it us? Were we the kind of people that looked suspicious? Maybe, maybe not? I’ll never know.
However, after the third time a staff member in the store asked, “Is there anything we can help you with?” I just went ahead and said it, “Yes, you know what, there is something that you could help me with. Do you think I could hide this box of golf balls in my jacket? I mean, just like tuck ‘em right here under my arm, and sneak out of here with the whole box?”
Don’t worry, I am just kidding. As is our custom, each time we responded with increasing kindness, “No thanks, we’re just looking.” We did indeed pay for the items we were interested in purchasing, and when we exited the store, no alarm bells rang. I trust that everyone’s worst fears were assuaged.
I would note two things about this experience. First, we must be living in a time when retail theft is a very serious issue. It gives me pause to think there might be that many people who are willing to steal. Is there that kind of need in our midst, even in the cozy suburbs? Perhaps.
And secondly, there’s no need to get defensive. I could have gotten all bent out of shape trying to figure what it was about us that looked so “criminal,” but that’s a waste of time. I had nothing to hide.
To put it more graciously, I have lots to share, so… why not invite a little scrutiny. Maybe the increased attention that was paid to my daughter and I was not an imposition, but an opportunity. Our syrupy sweet long-suffering might have inspired some contemplation among the employees present in the store that evening. Maybe they paused and asked, “Why in the world were they so polite?”
If we would have been asked, we would have been happy to share. Our interactions with others, in many circumstances and situations are driven by our commitment to sharing our Christian faith in subtle yet meaningful ways.
“You are the light of the world…” Jesus said to his disciples.
Question for reflection: Have you had any opportunities to share your faith recently? How did it go?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Tuesday evening the Youth Committee and Christian Education Committee will be meeting at 7:00.
On Wednesday we continue our weekly Bible Study with classes at 10:30 and 7:00. This week, some time with C.S. Lewis!
On Saturday evening our spoken word service with Holy Communion begins at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 10:30 with Sunday School at 9:15. We are delighted to welcome Bishop Kurt Kusserow, who will be preaching at each of our worship services this weekend. Please note, there is no confirmation or youth this week.
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, when we were baptized, we were directed to let our light shine in this world, that it might bring glory to you. Give us the courage necessary to be bold in our witness to Christ, and even more confident in the power of your grace. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.