21 He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear."
America values freedom of speech. Media reporters use freedom of speech to bring things to light that others would rather hide- disturbing them a bit. The Gay and Lesbian pride parades- so common in our day- cannot be hidden because of freedom of speech. The KKK can march freely and in the open because of freedom of speech. Even pornographers hide behind the idea of freedom of speech. Yet, we do not wish to give that freedom to those who might raise religious questions. So Greenville, South Carolina- usually an ideal place to live, has passed an ordinance specifically against street preaching- aimed at Christian preachers. Last weekend in Michigan four young Christian evangelists who went to a Muslim cultural exhibition were arrested for disturbing the peace. Trinity College, founded by presbyterians, and still church affiliated, was asked by some students to remove a reference to "our Lord" in their diploma this past month. Of course, most know about those who wish to remove "under God" from the pledge of allegiance; and "In God we trust" from our money. A few months ago one of the students in my church was told to tear his picture of Jesus up in public school art class (his class was told to draw something meaningful to them). There is a tremendous effort by some who do not believe in Christ to silence those who do from disturbing them and to remove all visible testimony to Christ. If we give freedom of speech only to those who speak evil, and take away freedom from those who would speak of God in public-in anyway- then we are using our freedom to allow evil, but not using freedom to allow good. If this continues in the direction it is going Christians will ask, "what good is freedom of speech?" "What good is freedom of religion?" China allows people to go to church- only government regulated churches (they've arrested millions who go to underground churches). It is hard to build a new church in China. Cuba used to take names of people who went to church and then use this list to say that these people could not buy a new house, buy a new car, send their kids to college, or get the best jobs. Now Cuba is not so strict, but it still does not want new churches built. Many anti-Christian governments will allow Christians to squeeze into their old structures- they just want to cut down on the expansion of Chrisitanity in their culture.
Jesus said not to hide your light under a bowl/bushel. In fact, Christianity cannot be hidden. It is the largest religion in the world- and is in every country in the world (the only religion that is), because it touches a human element that transcends cultures. What people try to conceal will one day be brought out into the open. People may try to hide from God or try to hide God away from them, but this, in the end, is impossible. Christians need to be more bold about their faith, and stand up for their freedom before the slow squeeze upon our freedom is turned into a choke-hold.
Prayer: Lord, do not let me hide my hope, my strength in you. Give me a heart to help others to hear.
John Calvin abridged: The more prominent the person, the more they do injury when they sin. People should take particular care, lest thinking that what they have done is hidden in darkness- for it shall be revealed. All are called to glorify God in the way they live.