Covenant and Law and You, O Agent of the Light!
This coming weekend I am leading a memorial service in a boxing gym for a family connected to us by one of our families. Bart Yerger died at 47 after a long bout with cancer, and he was a fighter. But the reason his service is being held in a boxing gym is not because he was a fighter, but because he used the gym as a way of getting other young men to fight for their lives. He was an agent of the light.
In Hebrew thought, it is written in covenant and law who the people of God are; who they are and what they do. “They will be my people, and I will be their God.” Too often we separate the idea of being good from doing good, but in the Torah they are both necessary. If we do not do good, we are not God’s people. It is very simple.
What is not so simple is doing good in our everyday lives. Imagine the difficulties faced by a professional fighter who went on to be a bouncer and manager at clubs. Yep, clubs. Remember who Jesus hung out with? Bart used his life to help people get out of addiction to drugs and alcohol and choose the light in some shady places.
He bought the gym with a partner as a place to continue boxing and to help others get clean. While the family and I were meeting to plan his service, young men kept coming up to us to shake our hands and embrace us and tell us how Bart impacted them.
I am not a boxer, and neither are most of you. We fight the good fight in some pretty bright places. The call is to bring the light wherever we are. Are you able to keep the light of Christ stoked in your heart for others to see by in the dark? Or in the strange tricky light of the office or the marketplace?
Be good and do good. It is that simple. We teach ourselves what matters in a lot of ways. We train ourselves by what we eat and drink and where we go. We form ourselves by what we listen to and agree with, even disagree with. And we train ourselves by what we give ourselves to, our money, our time . . . How do you use what God has given you?
We are all here to bear the light of Christ: of love, hope, justice, peace. We are here to bear that light in the place where we are called by God and placed by life. We are here for only a short time. Don’t let the moments between the bells go wasted. Be God’s agent for the light, and pray for those who represent the church on the front lines, for those who bear the light for us in the dark places of life.
Bart fought the good fight, and as we gather to ring the bell for him one more time, pray for him, his family, and those for whom he held the light.
Pray for those who bore the light for you to get where you are, and pray that God will let you see whose path you are called to light with his light. Be an agent of Christ’s light.