For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts to give the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)
A Christian parish has nothing to offer the world except Jesus Christ – the One in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We have nothing to offer each other except Christ, and the love with which He loves each of us (John 13:34). When as a community we take our eyes off Christ, and make anything else our message or our concern, we are lost in the darkness of the world. On Pascha, we see Christ risen from the dead, shining out of the darkness of Hades itself, calling each of us personally and all of us together to lay aside our worldly cares and way of seeing each other. Out of the darkness of the night, out of the darkness of our hearts, out of the darkness of our minds, the light of Christ shines. That can only happen when “I” no longer live but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
Our Lord Jesus Christ said to us, “you (plural, collectively) are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We all together are to be that light which shines out of the darkness. We are to be a light to each other and the world. Don’t ever let the light in you and us be darkness (Luke 11:34-35). To let anything come between you and Christ or between you and your fellow believers is to have darkness threaten us all with its chaotic return. We must be able to love those whom we can see if we ever hope to love God (1 John 4:20-21). An ember removed from the fire quickly burns out, dies and goes cold and dark. We however are to have that light with which the bush was burning and yet not consumed (Exodus 3:2). We will not lose our light, nor will we ever die if we remain united to Christ in His Body, the Church. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)