THE WORLD’S LIGHT
Matthew 5:14-16 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.
‘For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,’ Puritan John Winthrop famously preached to fellow immigrants to America aboard ship in 1630. At least two American presidents have quoted him, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. His words have resonated for many Americans ever since, reminding them of their spiritual obligations, not just to each other, but to the whole world.
In China today, church members are intimidated, banned from worship, placed under house arrest or arrested for their faith and practice. China tolerates Christian church services, but only within the narrow boundaries of theology and church life dictated by the State Administration for Religious Affairs.
The number of Christians in China number between 20 and 130 million. Recent crackdowns on house-church Christians stems from the Communist Party’s initiative “Operation Deterrence” to force them into compliance with State Religious guidelines.
If America’s churches are truly to be “as a city upon a hill,” they should follow the Rev. Graham’s example and help to shed light on the ongoing repression of their brethren in China.
Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power”, By David Aikman, The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2011, pg. A15.