You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
In class yesterday we were talking about blending ontology and praxis. What does that mean?
(Side Point: That's exactly what I said yesterday. If your like me, click those links. This will make a lot more sense if you have a working defination of ontology and praxis lodged in you skull. That said, for a moment yesterday I thought we were about to have one of those ridiculous seminary conversations that has no relationship to reality. If you keep reading you can decide for yourself how relevant our conversation was. Of course this line of thinking presupposes that relevancy is a good thing, but alas, that's another conversation.)
It means that how we behave should flow out of who we are. And if we want to know who we are, we may want to check how we behave.
The passage above says “you are”, not “you believe” or “you do”.
Many churches have a list of beliefs which sit on one shelf (or are one link on their web site) and a list of ministries that sit on another shelf, and though the two may in some way be related, it's not entirely clear what that relationship is. Instead, I think (actually my prof who I am stealing this from thinks, and yes, that's right, I have nothing original to say ; ) ) that the two need to be intimately bound up together.
This critique goes two ways. Typical churches are what they believe, (i.e. a statement of faith) and that may or may not impact how they behave. Conversely, some are moving toward allowing what they do to define them, without thinking critically about what underpins that action. The two need to be blended. We are the light of the world, we don’t simply believe there is an objective light, and we don’t simply shine random lights around, hoping it's the right light.
You are the light of the world, not you believe, not you do, but you are.