December 2019

 “Let light shine out of darkness”

2 Corinthians 4.6  (RSV)


Whatever ‘Word’ we use for contemplative prayer we must remember that its prime object, its work, is to reflect the Light of God into the numerous dark places of this world. God Himself places the Light, in terms of use and effectiveness, in the centre.  Light is the early gift of God to the created world, the first deed following Creation, indicating its importance to, and for, His yet-to-be tenants (Genesis 1.3).  St Paul writes of ‘the God who said “Let light shine out of darkness” ’ (2 Corinthians 4.6). We cannot be told good news too many times. 

Strong, confident and robust are the words spoken by Jesus when He tells us: “I am the Light of the World” (John 8.12).  This is a much-loved understanding of ‘Light’ – what more should Christians need, or want?  We claim to be – or in our prayers ask to be – children of light.  We strive to rid ourselves of the darkness which might surround us, or which fills our own history. We struggle with the darkness in our lives – even when we know that the Light, or goodness, rests within men and women.  We complicate most things or ideas and we also make heavy weather of our daily lives. 

We must sit, and listen, at communal prayer, in a quiet place. It is here where we will learn that the Light which we receive is not to be kept but is ours to shine into dark places around the Earth, offered as a gift to those struggling, passed on to the young, and used to reflect God’s glory.

Light warms us, awakens us and fills us with confidence and joy. Living in the dark is dull and difficult, to say the least: in the Light of God we are able to see acts of kindness and love, and to develop spiritually.  Even the simple candle, offering its comforting glow and its steadfast flame – will dispel the dark.  With the Light of God everything is possible. To the simple-hearted the hand-held lit candle can represent all that Christ and his followers spoke and wrote about the Light.

As we listen at Christmas to the words from John 1, we acknowledge the true light: not a light, not any light, but The Light - the Light of the World, which shines out of darkness.