I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth. As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. (John 17:15-18)
There is a lighthouse at Cape Spear, Newfoundland. The craggy rocks of the shore greet the raging cold waters of the North Atlantic and shoot frothy spray 200 feet in the air at their meeting. A light wind is 50 mph. Shipwrecks along this shore have been many. Yet for over 150 years, the Cantwell family has kept the lighthouse to guide ships through these dangerous and turbulent waters. Amid the hardship, isolation, and cold, one thing has kept this family going all these years: each morning, as the light peeks over the eastern horizon, they are the first in North America to greet the sunrise and welcome a new day!*
This image, this place of danger and rescue, is a great way for us to see ourselves as God's people — we are God's outpost of grace in a dangerous world. When Jesus came to form the band of brothers and sisters to continue his work in the world, he called them to live in such a place. He didn't want them living lives hidden and protected from the storms of real life or the struggles of the real world. If they lived in such a safe and secluded place, how could they help others find their way to safe harbor? How could they offer rescue, guidance, and hope to those caught in the storms or lost in the fog of doubt?
Why would we choose such a dangerous place to build our lives and find our identities? Ah, we know where heaven's hope is found! We know the grace that fills each day with meaning and purpose! We are the first to see God's sonrise and welcome heaven's new day!