We have family that lives several hours away and as we drove home after a visit, we often end up driving during the night.
And towards the end of our journey, I would find myself looking for the lights of our city radiating into the night sky as it offered hope, that our hours spent in a car would soon be coming to an end, and we would be home.
In Matthew 5, Jesus also spoke of light telling believers that we are a light to the world, and a city on a hill that can’t be hidden.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 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)
During dark times, light offers guidance and hope.
And a recent survey from Britain in a strange way revealed the hope churches offered, even to those who don’t attend, during the dark days of the COVID lockdowns when they were closed or severely restricted.
The survey conducted between August 2020 and March 2021 by Places of Worship Strategy for Historic England found that 79% of people listed loneliness as their biggest issue during the lockdown, but what stunned the researchers is that 75% of the people who did not attend services missed having access to churches for a time of meditation or reflection during the lockdowns.
In an interview with Premier Christian News, Dr Dee Dyas noted:
I think many people who don’t normally go to church hadn’t realized what churches meant to them until it was all taken away in a moment. And that goes from young mums desperate for contact with others, right through to older people who not only want social care, but also want to be able to go on volunteering because that’s a lot of who they are. And all of that is something that churches offer.”
Maybe I am reading this differently, but I am not convinced that these people would have actually gone to the churches if they had remained opened during the lockdowns.
But I suspect this yearning for churches revealed that subconsciously they missed the light and hope that churches offered during those dark lockdown days.
You are the light of the world, whether people are consciously aware of it or not.