Let Light Shine out of Darkness

Sivin Kit
Sivin Kit’s Garden
7 min readMay 26, 2024


Rev Dr Sivin Kit, The Lutheran World Federation,
42nd CMCR Meeting Closing Sermon based on 2 Corinthians 4:1–6, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Photo credit: EECMY/Olif.Jira


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This entire week has been a blessed time that we could spend together. Like many with whom I’ve spoken, this CMCR has an atmosphere of genuine mutuality. I believe this expresses the first part of our theme, “One Body,” well.

We were also challenged to reflect deeply on the meaning of God’s mission — Missio Dei. I could sense through small group sharing, plenary feedback, and conversations around meals and coffee, a shared commitment to respond faithfully to One GLOBAL Calling for God’s mission. And that is key: This is God’s mission, not ours, not even our churches’ or institutions. We are faithful when our response aligns with the vision of God’s “Mission of Love”, working through the church, both gathered and scattered, rooted in the Triune God, Creator, Redeemer, and Life Giver. We have been encouraged to keep our focus centered on God while looking at the world with open eyes and viewing ourselves honestly.

We know deep down that the world and the context in which each of us serves are amid massive global and local changes, plagued by conflict and pain. Often, we find ourselves in situations of chaos. The distance between what we are inspired to move toward and the messiness of ministry in the church and society remains. I sense we are all inspired and feel empowered. There’s a sense that this is our time — Africa, Latin America, and so on. I want to say yes to that. But I also want to say that many of our brothers and sisters in the Global North, many of whom are here, see that this is a time for them to rise with us to respond to God’s mission in their context. This is about us as one body together, responding to God’s global calling.

That is why I sense the Spirit whispering quietly in my soul. One issue that could distract us from God’s mission is our becoming triumphalist, or when this whole enterprise becomes about us and what we can do for God, rather than what God can do in us and through us.

We still have many obstacles before us. We named some: dealing with ethnocentrism, healing that still needs to be done in the church and society, and uphill challenges for peace-building. We celebrate the growth of the church. But we all know that while we have been blessed so that we can bless the world together, this blessing is amid much affliction and suffering. This is still the reality we will all return to after CMCR — that’s when the actual work begins.

1. Paul and the Corinthian church were tempted to “lose heart” in ministry

Paul captured it well already in the opening verses of 2 Corinthians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

Both Paul and the church were serving when external and internal afflictions were a reality, despite the advancement of the gospel. The blessings that they received were not without passing through the valley of suffering, affliction, and tremendous obstacles. Paul was accused of so-called shameful things, cunning practices, or falsifying God’s word. Paul acknowledged that there are those who are blinded from seeing the light of the gospel. Nothing in these verses suggests that his response to God’s global calling was anything but easy.

Any normal human being would lose heart or give up. A vision of God’s global calling goes beyond global expansion; it includes the path to respond to God’s calling, a realistic vision of a church that is acquainted with genuine suffering both within the church and around society. For me, being theologians of the cross means that we reject any notion of triumphalism of the past, present, or future. For me, the mission of love is rooted in the love of God shown in and through Christ’s work on the cross. That is what radical discipleship means.

2. We are and will be tempted to “lose heart” in ministry

The day will come when all of us will be confronted with “losing heart” or giving up, perhaps throwing our hands in surrender, feeling powerless and unable to move on. We need to be prepared for that. The global calling of the mission is a call to be ready to carry the cross as a church together. The cross reminds us that genuine humility is not about looking down at ourselves, but looking up to Christ. The way of the cross is the way of humility.

When I first came with Bishop Atahualpha from Colombia (A church with less than 2000 members) two years ago to this center for a pastoral leadership and peacebuilding workshop, I recall meeting many of you for the first time. I was impressed by how many of you did not lose heart even during a very complex national situation.

I came again a second time, where I had the privilege of interacting with the Synod presidents and key leaders of the church. I was inspired by your resilience and the commitment that you will be peacemakers and support peacebuilding, the gospel of peace in your respective contexts.

I am inspired by the growth of EECMY to 11 million, which is almost 15% of the 77 million in the Lutheran communion. But I’m even more inspired when I see the witness of brothers and sisters during times of hardship, both within the church and especially during times of uncertainty and insecurity. It’s the light that shines through you during times of darkness that makes the deepest change and will bring salvation to the world.

3. God has shone in our hearts — to connect us to the face of Christ.

I think verse 5 is the motivation to be faithful in God’s mission, and God’s calling: “We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Christ’s sake.”

Paul goes further:

For it is the God who said, “let light shine out of darkness, “, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

What struck me in this text is not that the light shines in the darkness, but that the light shines out of darkness. It’s not from the outside, but from the inside, deep within.

This Christ-centered focus is what we need to carry us to the end. If not, our excitement and inspiration will be short-lived until the end of this weekend. It’s a light that is not external to us, but comes from within our communion with Christ and one another. He turned the word “Lord” inside out with his meaning that counters the triumphalist empire of Caesar, his peace that surpasses understanding counters the Pax Romana peace that dominates. The genuine victory of Christ is one that passes through the cross. That’s what the Mission of Love is rooted in.

4. God has shone in our hearts — to connect us to the face of Christ.

We draw heavily on Gudina Tumsa, whom we have mentioned many times. I think his words from 1979 are deeply encouraging for us today. They feel like a paraphrase of the essence of what Paul was saying then, but now applied to EECMY then and still relevant now.

The creator and redeemer of the Christian has total claim on the life of the one who confesses him as Lord and Savior. When the Christian confesses that Christ is the Lord, he proclaims that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, the president of presidents, the Chairman of chairmen, the Ruler of rulers, the Secretary of secretaries, the Leader of leaders, the Head of the heads of State. Christ is the Lord of the universe and the one who guides historical developments to their right fulfillment according the purpose of the Creator. At the same time, he guides us both collectively and individually in such a way that the hairs of our heads are well known to him, so that we can relax in carrying out the commission he has given to us to his church. This assignment has the first and top priority in the life of the believer.

We have so much to think about after this week. We have lots of plans to make, funds to raise, and 101 things in which we will be engaged. There will be hard conversations and difficult reflections. There might be successes, and surely there will be failures. This journey together, in our response to God’s GLOBAL calling, will also include confronting the suffering and pain both in the Global South and, perhaps to some extent, the sense of powerlessness in the Global North.

Closing Promise

Indeed, today, we are all in this together as one broken body that needs healing, but also as one imperfect body God has called to fulfill His mission and not ours. Yesterday, the devotion left out a verse. But today, I’d like to add verse 7 to make things more complete:

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it made be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

This is God’s word for us today: this power that will empower us is not a power to dominate. It’s a power to serve, to lay down our lives, our ambitions, and to bring all of it under the Lordship of Christ.

We are honest, Lord. We can’t do this on our own. Who are we but jars of clay? Often, we are broken, in need of healing and repair, just as the world needs it. But this doesn’t disqualify us. Rather, God is saying to us, “Come to me, I will let my light shine out of the darkness that you are confronting. I will show my power in and through you as you respond to my calling.”

Lord, indeed, we surrender to you… Amen.



Sivin Kit
Sivin Kit’s Garden

Life Adventurer, Christian Theologian, Transformation Catalyst, Transmodern Malaysian, and Hopetimist