Hello Brothers & Sisters,
Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about how Jesus said he was the light of the world (John 8:12), and how the writers of the New Testament spoke of Jesus’ life as the light that shines in the darkness, and that darkness shall not overcome it (John 1:5). The apostle Paul said that we once walked in darkness before we became “children of the light” (Ephesians 5:8). Paul goes on to say a few verses later that living as children of the light requires that we “expose” deeds of darkness with the light of goodness and truth. In other words, we are called to lovingly shine the light of Christ on every matter and dispel the darkness.
Light can be comforting when you know you’re walking in darkness and you really want to see, but when you don’t know that you’re in darkness and so don’t think you need to see anything (or you think that you already see), well, then receiving the pure light of Christ and his gospel, which confronts, convicts, and calls us to repent, will feel like we’ve just tried gazing at the sun with a pair of binoculars. Not pleasant.
I know that confronting injustice today and exposing the darkness, especially concerning issues that have been heavily politicized in our culture, can be extremely challenging. As many of you know, we experienced this last Sunday as we gave attention to recent events in Charlottesville. As I said at the benediction, if you felt the struggle in the service, it’s because the struggle is real. But despite any efforts made to distract or deter us from our calling to exude Christ and be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), we went on to have a meaningful time of worship.
You can now listen to Dr. Todd Allen’s message at our website. You can also access other items under worship resources, including the congregational prayer that we prayed together in the service. Thanks to all those who came to the evening event at Harrisburg BIC. We had a great turnout and a wonderful time of listening and fellowship. It’s clear that our racial reconciliation work will continue.
Brothers and sisters, please hear my heart. I want you to know that my concern for racial reconciliation is a biblical one (e.g. Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:11-22). As the Senior Pastor of Grantham Church, I am not interested in partisan politics or furthering any political agendas. No, I’m concerned about living out the good news of the Kingdom for which Jesus has made us ambassadors. That means that standing up for the poor and the oppressed may at times take on the appearance of being partisan, whether it be abortion, refugees, or racism, but I assure you it is not.
Instead, I’m sincerely seeking a “third way” through the polarizing nature of American politics, and it is my desire that you would join me in being the Kingdom difference the world needs. This was why I believe God led us through the Aliens & Exiles series last fall. We must find the third way if we’re going to be faithful to Jesus and be of any help to the world around us. May the Spirit help us to discover that way together, so we can prove to the world that our love for Christ and each other is a much greater bond than our political opinions and affiliations (John 13:34-35).
Finally, I hope you will join us this Sunday for an exciting time of worship and celebration. I will be preaching on the meaning of our Christian baptism, and following the service we will venture down to the Yellow Breeches to baptize a handful of young people. This is a special time in the life of our congregation. I hope to see you there.
Until we meet again, I encourage us all to live in love as children of the light. Have a great week!
Grace & Peace,
P.S. Matt Bushoven, our new Youth & Young Adult Pastor is working in the office this week and he will be with us this Sunday! If you see him, please welcome him to Grantham Church. Don’t forget that we will officially welcome Matt with a luncheon next Sunday, August 27. We’re so excited about Matt’s arrival and can’t wait to see what God is going to do through his ministry among our young people.