GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Rev. Paul Detterman encouraged those attending Equip 2013, the Southeast region event of ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians and the Fellowship of Presbyterians, to reflect the light of the Son during Friday morning’s devotions.
Detterman, the executive director of the FOP, read from what he called “a little section on the Sermon on the Mount … We know it pretty well … If you been in the church at all, you know these words and it suffers from familiarity.”
“If you want to understand the impact of Matthew 5,” he encouraged those listening to ask an unbeliever to read that passage of Scripture. “Find your favorite pagan. What they will say is, ‘Oh my gosh, who lives that way?’”
“If you read Matthew 5 with a truly open mind, the only response is ‘God save me.’ In this we see the holiness of God.”
Taking a serious look at the passage, Detterman said that the readers see Jesus telling His disciples that they are the light of the world.
Detterman then asked the South Carolina crowd, “How many of you had a chance to look at the moon last night?”
He urged his listeners to think about “that chunk of rock, suspended in a very dark nothingness, and the way we appreciate the moon is when this other source of light gets to shine full on it.”
Did anyone notice, he asked, that “you could walk around last night without a light and not hurt yourself? … We could stare at the moon, and look at it for 10 minutes with no problem. We can’t stare at the sun for five seconds without damage to our eyes.”
“No one can see God and live,” said Detterman, “but we can stare deeply at the reflection of God’s light all around us. You are the light of the world – the lamp that lights up the house.”
He emphasized it again, saying “You are the light of the world. Jesus has created you, redeemed you and called you to shine – to reflect the radiance of God who we can’t look straight at in our fallen state and live … We can see the reflection of the Son.”
Looking at the text in a slightly different way, Detterman asked, what would happen if Christians didn’t let their light shine? “What happens if we don’t live into our calling?”
“People won’t see,” was his answer. “In the darkness, in the time when the moon is in a different phase, when the power is out, when the light is under a bowl, we wander around in our darkness. We stumble. We fall and we hurt ourselves and others.”
“If we don’t shine as we should, people will wander in the darkness,” Detterman said, “People won’t give glory to our Father in heaven and most importantly, people won’t see any point in all of the other teachings of Jesus, if they don’t see the light of Jesus shining in us.”
The world is desperately looking for something that will shine in the darkness. They are looking for Jesus, said Detterman, “and if they don’t see His light shining through us in the way we love one another and the way we deal with the issues around us … they will not believe in the other teachings of Jesus.”
“So, sisters and brothers, go shine!”