Who would have thought that the Confessions and my visits with servants of Jesus around the district would teach me this profound truth: “This little Gospel light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!”
The preface to the Book of Concord states that our forefathers in 1580 wanted to make sure something never happened: that “the light of heavenly truth should be placed under a bushel or table” (Pocket Edition, CPH 2006, Preface 22, p.18). No, they said, “We should take pains, with the greatest earnestness and our utmost ability, to attend to those matters that promote the extension of God’s name and glory; the spread of His Word from which alone we hope for salvation; the peace and tranquility of churches and schools; and the instruction and consolation of disturbed consciences. We must do this” (Pocket Edition, Preface 22, p. 18).
The bold and resolute confessors were referring to Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 5: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (vss.14–16).
This is who we are as Lutherans. The gift has been given to us. The mantle has been laid upon us. It is our Biblical and Confessional legacy. We are stewards of the Gospel light. Walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, we “take pains, with the greatest earnestness and our utmost ability” to make sure that the light of heavenly truth is never placed under a bushel.
That’s what I saw when I visited with pastors and servants of Jesus during the pastors conferences so far. I was treated to some early childhood chapel services where children were taught about Jesus, where they sang about their Savior, and where they were taught to shine their Gospel lights.
I met congregation members and pastors who refused to let Hurricane Harvey extinguish their Gospel lights. During the storm and its aftermath, they blessed their communities and continue to do so in a tireless way.
I witnessed people of the Gospel, shining Jesus’ light and exhibiting His joy. I met new creations in Christ who desperately want to see all of God’s people in action to share His Good News and who pray that the church and our church are unified in that holy purpose.
Good things are happening in the Texas District through God’s redeemed people, pastors, servants in ministry, educators, and workers. The Gospel light is shining! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
By Rev. Michael Newman
Texas District President