City of Lights

Words by Dustin Murray | Image by Blakeney Clouse

Beyond the courtyard of the Louvre’s glass pyramids, traipsing through a shadowed portico en route toward the Seine River, I found myself amidst a gathering crowd. Aligned with the setting sun, an unnamed violinist in a flowing black dress drew her bow. As she played, she appeared as if she was entering another world, peacefully invading ours with the grace of her gifting. Her melancholic song captured my deepest longing for family and friends. I threw my coins into the case, fled the darkness of the archway, and entered the descending light of the Parisian sun. 

To be sure, her public display was planned with precision. She was intentional in the use of her giftings. What good would it do to have such a gift and keep it from the world? What benefit would it be to possess such extraordinary light and hide it under the proverbial basket? That doesn’t mean that she had to put it on display in the archways of the Louvre, though I am thankful that she chose to do so. I would imagine that such a sound would possess equal majesty with an intimate audience in the privacy of a home. To be certain, there is beauty in both cases.

Consider the work of Christ in this regard. We see him intimately teaching his disciples in his farewell discourse, behind closed doors, over a shared meal. We also see him teaching the masses in his Sermon on the Mount. He was sovereignly intentional in both cases, his light shining brighter than a thousand suns. The grace of his giftings were the fruit of his divine perfections. In him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). His truth and grace were intricately woven through his every word and deed, both public and private. The glorious spectacle of Christ’s work exposed the deepest beauty and excellencies of his person. The public crescendo of his crucifixion and resurrection paved the way for us to enter the rest of the light of his presence. As Jesus spoke in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” The effect of his light at work in the salvation of his people is that we, too, in the same way, let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Jesus himself said, in Matthew 5:14-15, “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.” 

So, as with the violinist in the shadowy archways of the Louvre, but infinitely more in Christ, let us take courage in sharing the gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us, in both the intimate and the public. It is the outer workings of the light within us, and His light is not without effect. 

… for your progress and joy in the faith. WL

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