2nd March 2014

A Cloak of Invisibility 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put  it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV UK)
 

I read in the news recently how scientists have made some advancement in the technology which makes objects invisible. Researchers are able to engineer materials that redirect light waves around three-dimensional objects, effectively making them invisible. They have also made similar breakthroughs with sound waves. 

Sadly, although these inventions might have peaceful applications, technological breakthroughs are often made in the context of war and aggression. We human beings have an insatiable appetite for ever more sophisticated weapons, and for the assured means to protect ourselves against them. As Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 59, the nations of this world do not know the way to peace. Weapons are a major item in world trade, and the principal export of some economies. There are governments that condemn their people to live in poverty, even starvation, while they spend resources on building improved armies. 

By contrast, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and his Kingdom’s ‘principal export’ is to show the world the way to peace. As Jesus reassured Pontius Pilate, the Kingdom of God did not pose a military threat. “My Kingdom is not of this world,” he said. “If it were, my servants would fight.” 

Jesus, however, did not intend the establishment of his Kingdom to be a covert operation. The Kingdom of God has no need for a ‘cloak of invisibility’, bending light so that we cannot be seen. On the contrary we are called to a life of visibility—a life of reflecting the light of Jesus so that the world may see him in us. 

Sometimes, however, I think that some of us could make good use of that other technology which suppresses sound. Sometimes the noise we make gets in the way of the light we are called to reflect. So much of Christian communication seems inspired primarily by John the Baptist, Elijah or the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah 58:1 tells us that a large part of their responsibility was to “cry aloud and show my people their sins”. Some Christians seem to regard their primary service as condemning the sins of others, being accusers, and holding others in contempt. 

But such a posture fails fully to reflect the calling of these prophets much less those who know and live on this side of the finished work of Christ—who has inaugurated his Kingdom of righteousness and peace with God and our neighbours. The Gospel will always call for repentance. But our primary message should be about grace, forgiveness and the transforming power of God made available to us through the work of Christ. 

Prayer
Holy Father, help us to be lights as you have instructed. The best lights are silent lights, unless or until we are asked for reason for the hope that lies within us.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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