As a Congregational Methodist, I am committed to vanquishing darkness, to sharing the sunshine of Christ in the world around me. It should be said of us, “When they came, there was no light. When they left, there was no darkness.”
Dr. E. Stanley Jones said, “When I came to know Jesus it was like I had swallowed sunshine.” Congregational Methodists have been spreading the sunshine of Christ’s love and grace for more than 170 years. When Paul was on trial before King Agrippa, he testified that Christ gave him the same mission: "I am sending you to them (Jews and Gentiles) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
Like Paul, our job as Christians is to spread the light of Christ in the midst of a spiritually dark world. Mark Batterson, in his book, “All In: You Are One Decision Away from a Totally Different Life,” wrote: “A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved goodbye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home."
A.W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone: “When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD..." (Jeremiah 29:11-13a, NIV)
Rev. Ben B. Gerald