This summer, I drove up to Vernon with my little Boston Whaler and we arrived around 9 pm at night. We launched the boat on Wood Lake because all the launches on Kalamalka Lake were closed due to flooding. I drove the boat by myself through the canal and then in the pitch black for about another 10 miles to my sister’s cabin.

My sister went out on the dock with a tiny LED flashlight and set it flashing. You could see it from a long, long way off. It was bright and clear and all by itself.

A light in the darkness.

Glowing in the distance

Several times during the summer the temperature stayed above 35 C, even late at night. After dark, I took my kids out on the whaler to the end of the bay, in the pitch black, anchored and we went swimming. It was dead calm; not a breath of wind, no lights anywhere around, with a full moon. You could see a billion stars overhead.

But over the hillside, in the distance, you could also see a bright glow in the distant skyline. It was the lights of the city of Vernon.

There is a big difference between being a light all on your own and being a collective light on a hill with a city that cannot be hidden.

We’ll be your city…

As I considered our theme this year, “We are the Kingdom,” taken from Matthew 5, I kept thinking that this is a lot like the way we live our Christian lives. We each shine a sharp and clear light that people who look right at us can see. They can especially see our light when we shine it in the midst of so much darkness and brokenness around us. 

But we also shine a collective light as a group.

Our school on Old Clayburn Road, or a class on a field trip, or a group at the gleaners, or grads on a service day, or athletes on a team, all shine a collective light. People see it. And by seeing the light we shine, by seeing the good deeds we do, our Father in heaven is glorified.

Like the light of the city in the distance, the light we shine is a collective light.

And that’s part of what it means when we sing, “We are the kingdom, we are the light, you set a fire we cannot hide, and we’ll be your city burning so bright, ‘cause we are the kingdom…”