‘You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
A few years ago I read the official biography of Mother Teresa. It was an humbling, inspiring and compelling account of life called to the service of the Saviour Jesus Christ and service to the poor, homeless and vulnerable. There is an incredible account of Mother Teresa visiting a slum village and going in to a 10 foot by 8 foot home of man so sick he could hardly lift his head. He was bedridden and lived alone. Mother Teresa swept his home, made him a meal and found a little candle lamp to give the poor man some light. Several weeks later some of Mother Teresa’s missionary friends – the Sisters of Mercy – visited the village. Once again they visited the lonely man. He asked where Mother was and said to them, ‘tell Mother to come be my light!’ Jesus is the Light of the World and as followers he exhorts us to be salt and light.
Last week some colleagues and I went to a Local Authority meeting with the Children’s Services Department’s senior team. To my astonishment they told us that the previous week they had 502 contacts for help which had resulted in 280 referrals. They went on to explain that this was a little higher than normal but not excessively so. This was a snap shot of what Local Authorities face every week throughout the UK and a glimpse of the deep need in our communities. Parents and careers are not coping. Families are fragmenting and children are vulnerable and at risk.
It’s for this purpose that Safe Families for Children is being established and that’s why we are so grateful for the team – volunteers, supporters and staff – that are seeking to respond to the call from the lonely, the hurting, the poor and the vulnerable who are crying out, ‘Come be my light’. Your smile might be the light. Your befriending might be the light. Your hosting of a child for a couple of nights or a couple of weeks might be the light. Your gift of resources – a buggy, a stair gate or something that you no longer need – is lifeline for someone else who has very little. Jesus said give a cup of water in my name and it will be a blessing.
So let’s go and shine!