What does it mean to be the Light of the World? | Salt&Light
Look at verse This is true even when Satan may be the immediate cause. God is sovereign over all things, including our suffering, and including Satan. Compare verses 12 and The church does not escape. When the fire of judgment burns the church, it is a testing, proving, purifying fire. When it burns the world, it either awakens or destroys. God hates sin so much and loves his children so much that he will spare us no pain to rid us of what he hates.
So reason number one is that suffering is not surprising, it is planned. It is a testing. It is purifying fire. Alexander Solzhenitsyn had long been impressed with the patience and longsuffering of Russian believers. One night in prison in Siberia Boris Kornfeld, a Jewish doctor, sat up with Solzhenitsyn and told him the story of his conversion to Christ.
So right now, pray this radical prayer with me, decreeing light into your darkness:
The same night Kornfeld was clubbed to death. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Bless you, prison, for having been my life. We have strong hope, therefore, that the sufferings of our own day will bring purity and life to many. Suffering is not surprising, it is purposeful. Keep on rejoicing because your suffering as a Christian is an evidence of your union with Christ. This is cause for rejoicing because it means you are united to Christ.
This union with Christ is the most beautiful subject in the Christian life. It means that I am not a lone fighter here: I am an extension of Jesus Christ. When I was beaten in Romania, He suffered in my body. It is not my suffering: I only had the honor to share His sufferings.
Keep on rejoicing because this joy will strengthen your assurance that when Christ comes in glory, you will rejoice forever with him. Our joy now through suffering is the means of attaining our joy then, a thousand-fold in glory. First there is suffering, then there is glory. Keep on rejoicing now in suffering in order that you might rejoice with exultation at the revelation of his glory. This means that in the hour of greatest trial there is a great consolation.
In great suffering on earth there is great support from heaven. You may think now that you will not be able to bear it. As Rutherford said, the Great King keeps his finest wine in the cellar of affliction. He does not bring it out to serve with chips and on sunny afternoons.
He keeps it for extremities.
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And Jesus Himself gave us the reason for shining: Without a sense of destiny, and a desire to glorify God through it, we would tend to hide our light. But the opposite is also true. When we live with a sense of destiny, and a burning desire to glorify God, we will rise up and let our light shine. It grabs our attention. Notice who this message is being addressed to. Notice what is actually being said. And notice how it is being addressed. The first surprising thing is that this glorious declaration was addressed to an inconspicuous, insignificant ragtag band of disciples.
To this inconspicuous and insignificant bunch, Jesus said: Now, we ask ourselves, who exactly is light? God not only has a mission for the church, He has a master plan for the church. As far as Jesus is concerned, He had two tasks. He is the light that coming into the world brings light to all men. But there is a second task.
In fact, originally this task was given to Israel. They were given a task to be a witness, to be a light. But they failed miserably in their task. The third surprise is the scope of the task. To a small group of ordinary people, God gave a world vision! He did not say, you are the light of the home, or you are the light of your region. In it is not unusual to see nurses, taxi drivers, hospitality staff and council workers find themselves on the streets after being evicted by private-sector landlords seeking higher rents.
The problem of homelessness, King continues, can no longer simply be ascribed to drug addiction or mental health issues; rather, the erosion of the social safety net is what is pushing an ever-increasing number of people into precarity. Moments of Collective Joy has appeared on the literary scene. In her new book, Segal adamantly refuses despair. Instead, she insists that we must never stop imagining and struggling for alternative—and, yes, even utopic—spaces and futures. This urging could not come at a more opportune time.
As study after study has shown , levels of individual misery, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation are at all-time highs in the Anglo-American world. In her book, Segal posits radical happiness as the antidote, not only to the ersatz happiness that is sold to us via pills, apps, and self-help guides but also to the more general sense of despondency.
Happiness, Segal gently reminds us, is not something we find; nor can it be bought on the market. Unlike the dominant ideology of individual felicity—with consumerism and individuated sexual desire mixed up with ideals of romantic love at its core—radical happiness is produced by cultivating and reaffirming our ties to one another and to the world.
Thus, while love is central to happiness both individual and collective , love is also infinite in its variety, making it imperative to expand notions of attachment and care well beyond heteronormative coupledom. As the title of the book suggests, radical happiness is therefore most accurately defined in terms of moments of collective joy, moments that are created when we are moved to go beyond and outside ourselves to act together with a plurality of others.
Crucially, for Segal, these moments emerge as we forge communities that struggle together to ensure the creation of social conditions and infrastructure that would enable the greatest number of people possible to thrive.
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Much of Radical Happiness charts how and why this movement beyond oneself has become more difficult in the contemporary era. Despite the Anglo-American obsession with happiness and the thriving happiness industry, the populace is increasingly miserable. One of these roots—and the preponderant one for Segal—is the rise of neoliberal governance, which has, since the s and the era of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US, seen the steady dismantling of the welfare state and the social safety net.
This has, as the book details, translated into increasing economic insecurity for ever more people. Not only has work become increasingly precarious over the past few decades but employees are also putting in more hours for less money, which, in turn, leaves people less time for leisure and, often, the ability to fulfill care commitments.
Furthermore, neoliberal governance erodes any sense of social responsibility while fostering intensified individualism, which merely exacerbates feelings of isolation and loneliness. This deepening cultural crisis is the direct result of on-going policies of austerity and privatization, which siphon wealth upwards at a staggering pace while eviscerating public resources, spaces, and community life.
The World Inequality Report recently published data showing that the richest 0.
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