First light: it isn’t dark: the sky is brightening, day is inevitable. But it isn’t day either, because the Sun has yet to rise in all its glory, transforming everything.
When the Sun rises, it touches the mountaintops first. The church is very like these mountains. We are positioned there in the night-time landscape. We ourselves are a mixture of darkness and light. But what makes us different is that without any merit on our part, without us even particularly doing anything, the Sun is shining on us.
Here in the night-time, we are already enjoying the day-time. God brings a little day-time to us, and through us a light is cast on a twilit world.
Something real has happened to us if we turned to Christ. The New Testament boldly states that when Christ gives someone a new heart, it’s a piece of the world to come: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!’
Then—like that sunlit mountain—we are a sign of something, and an example of something, to the world around.