Light in the Darkness
Week beginning 21st June 2020
Today is the longest day; midsummer or the summer solstice. It’s well known that our ancient forebears observed this cycle of the seasons and constructed temples of stone, carefully aligned to mark the moment. Stonehenge is one such place and hundreds will have gathered at dawn today to experience the arrival of the sun.
For us Christians, the arrival of light into darkness is a potent theme in both our Scriptures, and our history. Jesus referred to himself as the light of the world.
John 8: 12
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.””
“You are the light of the world – a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden”
Letting your light shine in the darkness
How are you finding life in lockdown?
Life is no longer normal for any of us. The things that we usually do to get balance in our lives are gone for the moment, as is gathering together at church. Some of you connect on Zoom while others don’t for a whole variety of reasons.
With so many new rules on how we
are to live that say we can’t, such as being able to gather in groups of no more than six outdoors -
what if all this ‘can’t’ is actually an opportunity?
We are a called to “Live as children of the light”. Looking it up in the Bible and there are three key things:
“You are children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to night or the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the LORD. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others so they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven” (Mathew 5:14-16).
It seems to me that we have a choice to make here.
We can choose to stand out and be different, to be bright and shining beacons full of hope,
Be light in the darkness
Our world is dark right now. There is political unrest, protests about racial injustice, a sense of lack of safety as lockdown rules are relaxed etc. During this time we cannot run our usual events such as Soup & Sweet and Sunday Gatherings.
So, how are we each going to be light in this darkness?
The first thing that strikes me is that to be a light to anyone, we need to receive light from Jesus. It can be so easy if we are lucky enough to go to a church that we enjoy, for our faith to be carried by that church. We turn up on Sunday mornings feeling a bit dry and frazzled, we engage in the worship, teaching and fellowship, and leave feeling lifted.
How can we do that for ourselves?
How can we be responsible for maintaining our light?
Luke tells us: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body is full of light.” (Luke 11:14)
We need to watch what we look at. I don't know about you but my social media feed is a mixed bag right now, and the news is always bad news, but the Bible contains the consistency I crave. That’s where there is peace and strength and promise.
Get to know God
What if we use this time to really deepen our relationship with God?
What if we step up reading the bible?
And instead of just reading it on our, find own find a way to read it with our husbands/wife’s, our families?
How can we talk about Jesus with those we meet when we walk and chat to those we meet?
And what about how we pray?
Maybe step this up too. Perhaps get a journal, and every day find something to be thankful for. But also, this is a really good place to be real with Jesus. Tell him when you’re feeling desperate, and scared, or crowded and like you need to be on your own.
One of my friend’s daughters was having a cry yesterday, telling her mum how much she was missing her friends. After a while the mum reminded her daughter that while her friends aren’t with her just now, Jesus actually is. It dawned on me that the same is true for us. This is not just a platitude we give to small children, it's a reality.
Talk to Jesus.
Cry out to him.
Pray for everything.
Write down your prayers and tick them when you see answers.
Give God the glory and build your faith.
Because Jesus died and rose again, he is with us today. He is with us in our isolation, our loneliness, our fear and our grief. We need to fix our eyes upon him. There is so much that we cannot control right now, but we can control what we look at.
Let’s look at the news and social media less, but look to Jesus more.
And look at the people we live with more.
What do they need from us today?
How can we share God’s light with them?
Which bit of darkness can we shine God’s light of love onto?
When your light is bright because you have spent time with Jesus, and received what you need from him, lift it up so that it gives light to everyone in the house.
If it’s a difficult teenager, ask God to show you how to love them.
If it’s a grumpy spouse, ask God to show you how to encourage them. If it’s a toddler having a tantrum, ask the Lord for patience, and a sense of humour!
If it’s a housemate who you need space from, ask the Lord to provide it.
Draw near to him, and he will draw near to you.
Our church community is a “city on a hill” – we are all called to be light to the world around us.
How can you be a light to those around you in the coming week?
How can you use those diffcult situations, opportuniites to bring the light of Jesus into that issue?
How can you use it as a prompt for prayer?
I was messaging Bob this week, and he had had a tough day at work, a patient had died while Bob was working on him. Bob was telling me that going home, he couldn't stop thinking about what more he could have done, that he wasn't a good enough paramedic etc.
I reminded him that we are never enough for others, only Jesus is. And that this was an opportunity to pray, to pray for the family of the deceased, to prayer for peace in their hearts and in Bob's heart and mind.
Hom many amazing opportunities there are around us... to share the Good News of Jesus.
The YouTube link this week is here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHnJn7EgQjAxdcoP1tiOJk4WUEMJe7-fg
Do keep in touch with us and each other