“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15).
There are a lot of bright lights in Las Vegas, and for this reason it can be very easy to miss paying attention to the moon. Still, occasionally I’ll look up in the sky and smile as I see a brightly glowing full moon, or maybe the glimmer of a crescent moon just starting to wax. I grew up with a telescope, and living far from the city I would occasionally go out and blind myself in the middle of the night as I stared into the silvery disk that hung in the sky. Those nights when it shone so bright, you could take a stroll at midnight and not miss a step.
The moon is wondrous, but no one mistakes it for the glory of the sun. At night, we don’t feel the heat from the moon, because it does not create the light that it shines; the moon is merely a reflection of a greater, more powerful, light. This is the way I believe it’s important to think of the church. Yes, the church is a capable force for good, charity, and love, but those traits are a mere reflection of the God we serve. That is not to diminish the church in any way, but is a reminder of our status and privilege.
We have the unique pleasure and duty of being a reflection of the glory of God in this world. When we go into the world speaking of God’s love and what He’s done in our lives, and showing that love to others, we become a sort of mirror for the world to see Him through. Some of us only show a sliver of a crescent, but some have the fortitude to make life as fully a reflection as possible.
God works in ways that are subtle, at least to us they are subtle. When He visited the Israelites on Mount Sinai, He told Moses that fully revealing His glory would kill him (Exodus 33:20). Instead God shows the world glimpses of who He is, through the world, through our interactions with others, and even though us. This won’t always be the case though. Just as the glory of the moon fades at the dawning of the sun, the glory of the Lord will be on full display on the beautiful day of His return.