A View From The Vicarage, September 2017
As I write this, the works to replace the wiring and upgrade the lighting in St. Mary’s Church Kington have just begun. This is the culmination of the considerable efforts of a great many people over an equal number of years for all of which I am deeply grateful.
Once the work is concluded I am convinced that all who visit it will be able to see the building in a different and greatly enhanced light. In the meantime; there will be some not inconsiderable disruption and very regrettably the building will have to remain closed outside of service times while the works are in progress. However, all of our other churches remain open and offer a warm welcome to visitors and pilgrims alike.
Light is one of the potent symbols in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s first act of creation in Genesis 1 is the separation of light and darkness. Moses becomes aware of God’s presence in Exodus 1 when he encounters the burning bush which is not consumed. Light throughout the Old Testament is an identifier of divine presence and activity.
In the New Testament, Jesus uses light as a parable. “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8: 18) The foolishness of the five bridesmaids in Matthew 25 is that unlike their “wise” companions they have neglected to bring sufficient oil for their lamps. I could go on!!
It seems to me that as Christians, as followers of Jesus, our calling is to be light in our communities: easy to say but what does that mean in practice?
Light reveals things that are otherwise hidden, so to be people of light means that we need to be open and responsive to the wishes of God and the needs of those around us.
Light helps and assists us; we don’t turn on a light somewhere where we don’t expect to be, so to be people of light requires us to assist those struggling in the darkness in the place where we are.
Light illuminates but it doesn’t judge; it might reveal the truth but it doesn’t comment upon it or indeed make judgements about it, so to truly be people of light means that we needto avoid making judgements about others based on our own perceptions and preconceptions.
Light doesn’t teach you to see but it does enable you to see more clearly. At a Christening, the newly baptized are handed a lighted candle, lit from the Paschal Candle the reminder of Jesus ‘the light of the world.’ As the candle is presented, the following words are said: “You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.” Those gathered are invited to respond with these words of encouragement: “Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.”
I’m sure that all of us have days when we feel anything but light but let’s remember that light for the world is what we and all Christians are called to be.
A single flickering candle flame provides some illumination but how much more light and heat are generated when you gather many candles together? Surely that’s what our worship is about enlightening each other to enable all of our individual lights to illuminate our communities.
I pray that you will be enlightened and inspired.
With my love and prayers, as always