Let Your Light Shine

Now that several million people have watched the video of Reclaiming Jesus, it is time for us to to take our response to a higher level. Signing the Declaration is a good first step but now it is time to action, to answer the call.

We as elders deeply believe in this Pentecost season that the Holy Spirit is at work, even in the darkness of this political moment. We feel it calling us to reclaim Jesus from those who have appropriated, co-opted, and hijacked his name for worldly political and financial power. We are now asking each of you to help show the world that the followers of Jesus refuse to be complicit and refuse to be silent. Will you answer the call to Reclaim Jesus? As elders we are inviting all of you to join us in committing to bringing this declaration into your personal and public lives: into your conversations, into your churches, into communities, and into your nation.

As a visible symbol of your commitment to Reclaiming Jesus, we are asking you to partake in candleight vigils. Candles and candlelight vigils represent this movement: The symbolism of a candlelight vigil — of a host of lights together shining in the darkness — has often been powerfully used in dark political or religious times and has often made a situation-changing difference. Candlelight vigils were widespread in South Africa during the oppression of apartheid. In the mid-1980s in the Philippines, peaceful demonstrations including candlelight vigils helped topple the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. In South Korea just last year, the “ candlelight revolution,” helped impeach a corrupt regime. One of the most powerful examples of the power of a candlelight vigil that spurred change many thought impossible is what happened in Leipzig, East Germany in October of 1989. After seven years of weekly “Prayers for Peace” at St. Nicholas Church, a new candlelight vigil began on Oct. 9, which spread to the streets each week and eventually gained 120,000 people. After only a month, the Berlin Wall came down — showing again the power of light in the darkness.

I keep going back these days to the Gospel of John, which begins with an image of Christ as light. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (1:5 NIV).” As many have done before, it is time again to trust the light of Christ, join the light of Christ, and take the light of Jesus into the world — believing that the darkness, in the end, cannot overcome that light.