Church on a Hill-Top

Today I want to tell you the story of a church that was built way in the highest mountains of Switzerland. It was a beautiful church that had been built with great care by the villagers who lived nearby. But there was one thing that the church didn't have. Can you think of what that might have been? It didn't have any lights. You couldn't just go into the church and switch on the lights like we do here. Yet every Sunday evening the people who lived on the mountain-side opposite the tiny church saw something magic happen. The church bell would ring and worshippers would wend their way up the mountainside towards the church. They would enter the church and then all of a sudden the church would light up brightly. What do you think happened? Yes - you see the people had to bring light with them - so they brought lanterns. When they arrived at church they would light their lanterns and hang them around the church on pegs set in the walls, so the light would spread all around. If only a few people came to church the light would be very dim because their would only be a few lanterns. But when lots of people came to church there would be plenty of light. After the service the villagers would take their lanterns home. At this time, to those who watched from a distance, it was as if a stream of light poured out of the church and over the mountainside. For many it was a sign that all was well. God's light was with them and in them. The only time the little church lit up was when people were there. That's when it truly became a church. That's when the light shone most brightly

I found this story in the liturgy for the 5th Sunday of Year A (1999) by Rev RJ Fairchild. A link to his website is in my page of links.