10 November 2020
Light and life in the darkness | Written by Tracy Reynolds
For many of us this time of year is difficult and disturbing, it is the time of year when shadows lengthen, when we ‘celebrate’ the dead rising, and the fallen dead of 2 world wars. Some days it can feel as if the day never actually gets light, like we are ‘ walking in darkness’. Some of us have spent the last 6 months living a very restricted life, isolated, fearful, behind our closed doors. Our freedoms have been curtailed, our connections with family and friends stretched thin. Even the natural world seems to retreat into itself and signs of new life are hard to find…… but the light is coming!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Strange thing to call a person really – a word… We use words to describe people, their physical description or their characteristics but we would never say someone is a word… Not just a word but the word… in the beginning God speaks: “let there be light…” And suddenly there is light… when God speaks something happens… a world is made, almost as if God speaking is also God being, making and doing…
So Jesus is the word of God because he is God among us being, making and doing. Jesus ministry is about who he is in his being… that is God… “What has come into being in him was life,”. God is making life. Wow wherever God is there is life… but what does that mean? Well perhaps it means that wherever you find life you will find God… I think it also means wherever God is things are growing, changing, developing, becoming more themselves than they have ever been – even when we don’t see it, even when we don’t feel it, life continues, moving forward.
Perhaps this week you could make/write a card to someone who has been a light in the darkness for you?
17 November 2020
Transforming light | Written by Lorna Bryan
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” Jesus, quoted in John 12:46
As Covid-19 restrictions continue to be in place, it’s natural to be considering what a winter of lockdown will look and feel like. We know winter to be a time of literal darkness, and the many unknowns of how we will be affected by the pandemic in the coming months leave us feeling in the dark too.
When we put our hope in God, we find that we are not alone in the dark, and though we might feel it, we are never lost:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,’
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139: 7-12
We don’t have to pretend that the darkness isn’t there in order to feel hopeful. Instead, the writer of this Psalm says we have a hope and assurance that God is present with us, right now.
The darkness doesn’t faze God, he has always had a plan in place; Jesus is described in the Bible as a light coming into the world and ultimately is the way God has, and will, end all darkness, pain and suffering. But until this happens, we wait. And it is dark.
Where would you like God to break through and bring light? You might think of situations outside of your own control, or things within ourselves that we would like to see God change.
Is there something which brings light into your life and gives you strength during this time?
Think of a shape to symbolise something that gives you strength, and another shape to symbolise an area where you want God to bring his transforming light. Enclosed you will find some black pieces of paper. Find something soft to lean on, and pierce the paper (a needle or pin works best but a sharp pencil will also do) to create a constellation of holes in the shape of your chosen symbols. You may wish to attach your symbol of hope to the inside of a window. When you see light shine through the holes of your shape, use this as a prompt to thank God for that which gives you strength. You may wish to keep the other symbol separately, and hold this up to the light when you spend time thinking or praying about the area where you want God’s light to shine.
24 November 2020
Which light of the world? | Written by Lydia Hiorns
In the light of our broken world and the voices that cry from the rubble “when will it finish”, we often feel life’s scorching heat and its light opens our eyes to:
Heavy hearts. Sorrow filled souls. Fear of unknown ways. Condemnation. Barren joy. Hunger. Stumbling on dark paths. Bulky burdens. Laborious labour. Added afflictions. Multiplied trials. Exhausted endurance. Spent strength. Limited love. Grudging grace. Paralysing poverty. Raging waters. Wounded souls. Absolute abandonment. Rejected ruins.
But, in the light of our broken Jesus and His voice that cries from the cross “it is finished”, we can feel life’s generative heat and His light (the light of the world) opens our eyes to:
Tranquil hearts. Restored souls. Guided ways. Anointed. Overflowing joy. Feasting on pure delights. Comfort on dark paths. Lavished bulky grace. Strength in labours. Added mercy. Multiplied peace. Given endurance. Given strength. Unlimited love. Unmeasured grace. Infinite riches. Still waters. Restored souls. Absolute presence. Accepted creation.
Listen to the two songs and meditate on the truths that open our eyes to Jesus’ light.
How can these truths help us to live in the reality of the brokenness of our world, whilst lifting our eyes to Jesus’ life giving light?
How do they speak into the reality of our dark and broken world?
How can they bring us life giving light?
How can we meditate on these truths in our darkest moments?
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me lie in pastures green.
He leads me by the still, still waters,
His goodness restores my soul.
And I will trust in You alone,
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home.
He guides my ways in righteousness,
And He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup, it overflows with joy,
I feast on His pure delights.
And though I walk the darkest path,
I will not fear the evil one,
For You are with me, and Your rod and staff
Are the comfort I need to know.
He lavishes grace as our burdens grow greater
He sends us more strength as our labours increase
To added afflictions He offers more mercy
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace
When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed and the day is half done
When we’ve reached the end of our earthly resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun
So lean hard, Lean hard
Lean on the everlasting arms
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power has no boundary that’s known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
You lead me beside still waters
Your goodness restores my soul
I know that you’ll never leave me
I know that you won’t let go