You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
-- Matthew 5:14
In my Scripture reading yesterday I spent some quality time in Psalm 48, which I love love love. It is about the splendor and influence of Zion, the City of God. I read it as a forecast not just of the consummated kingdom but as a blueprint for the Church, God's living witness to the kingdom on earth.
I test drove that proposition at Element's PRAXIS last night, asking our folks essentially, "What does Psalm 48 tells us the Church should do and be like?" Here are the things we came up with (read the psalm yourself and see if you don't agree) . . .
1. The Church should bring joy to the world. (vv.1-2)
2. The Church's message is that God is a fortress, a refuge in times of trouble. (v.3)
3. The Church makes it clear that Jesus is Lord over and above all lords, and she leads with the radical call to a revolutionary kingdom that challenges and usurps worldly authorities and systems. (vv.4-5)
4. The Church is forthright about God's holiness and righteousness, which provokes repentance and the fear of the Lord. (vv.4-8)
5. The Church is known for the love of God. They meditate on God's love, even. (v.9)
6. The Church's zeal for the glory of God, for the proclamation of His fame, for the spread of His praise spills outside the city walls and flows to the end of the earth. The Church does not exist for her own ends, for her own maintenance, but for the glory of God and the good of the world. The Church is on mission. (vv.10-14)
7. The Church cultivates a legacy of God's faithfulness. (v.14)
That is awesome to reflect on. Clearly we're not there. But God is faithful, and despite what anyone thinks of the Church, Jesus has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. When I think of that, when I think of God's faithfulness to us, when I think of Jesus' love for His Bride, and when I take those thoughts and run them through great anthems like Psalm 48, I cannot help but think of how the Church can and will be (and, dangit!, often is) radiant with the glory of God.