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Close the generational gap

February 15, 2023

Daily Scripture

Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Matthew 5:13-16

Deuteronomy 6

4 Israel, listen! Our God is the LORD! Only the LORD!
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up.=

Matthew 5

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

A new youth-driven music ministry called YTHEFFECT launched last week. It is a collective of Young Worship Leaders at Resurrection United Methodist Church FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH​, led by Zae Romeo, Resurrection Students/Next Gen Worship Leader. Click here​ to hear their first music recording, “Pride of a Father.” A companion video here​ lets you meet many of the members of YTHEFFECT. Both have a link that will let you subscribe to hear about future music.

Resurrection’s second Vision 2030 goal is to “connect new and younger people and raise a new generation of leaders.” We plan to enlist new generations into “effectively reach(ing) non-religious people” in our increasingly secular community. Jesus called us to be “the light of the world” through whom God’s light illumines the lives of people around us. We want the way we live, serve and witness to draw the people who come to know us to our God, not just to us.

  • Have you ever flown over a city at night? Or driven along a highway from the dark countryside into a well-lighted area? How old were you when your life went from spiritual darkness to light? In what ways can you help shine God’s light into young lives, and enlist their energy in God’s great mission? Where are the dark places of your neighborhood, city, and world into which people of all ages can shine God’s light?
  • Jesus said, “A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden.” He wanted his followers’ actions to be visible and attractive. He added that we let our light shine for a specific reason—so that people who see what we do will praise God. Corporate PR campaigns often aim only to acquire fame, money or market share. If our ultimate purpose is to lead people to praise God, how must that shape our efforts to make our church’s actions visible?

Loving God, fill me to overflowing with your light, so that it shines out to everyone with whom I come in contact. Help me to live as your salt and light, your physical presence, right here, right now. Amen.

GPS Insights

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

Jesus says his followers should be salty and lit-up. I love this! At a time when many people hear “Christian” and think dour, self-important people who judge others and live narrow lives, Jesus gives us a very different picture: people with lives so tasty and lit-up that they overflow to bless others. Sounds like a celebration!

So why don’t we live this way? Jesus says we block out our light by covering it up. He uses the image of a basket. I imagine a black-out box covering our light. This keeps us in the dark. Notice that Jesus does not say our light is snuffed out. No, he says our baskets block light because we put them there.

Then let’s pay attention! What are our black-out boxes? Some of us carry the “I’m not really spiritual enough to be considered a good Christian” black-out box and it hides our light. Some of us carry the “I’m right and they’re wrong” basket that hides our light. Some of us carry the “Younger people don’t know everything like I do” basket that covers our light. What is your black-out box? What makes you pick it up and cover your light? Do you have the courage to uncover it?

Resurrection’s Vision 2030 goal #2 to “connect new and younger people and raise a new generation of leaders” is an invitation to take at least two steps. First, take off whatever blocks the light!

Second, call forth the light in new and younger people. Once we let our lights shine, we are more able to see the light shining in others. God has surely planted lights in new and younger people. Our job is not to tell them they are in the dark. Our job is to see and call forth the light God has put in them.

Let your light shine!

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.