After the service recently I went for a walk. While walking I ruminated about the theme Darkness and Light.
I was brought back to a time in my teens. My Church Youth group went for a midnight walk.
The Leaders dropped us off in a car park on the North Downs. We were to be led by 2 members who had orienteering experience with the scouts.
We set out in the dark into the darker woods.
Brave at first, but anticipating danger,
As one tripped, fear, anxiety, grew
Overcome with strangeness, way out of our comfort zone, fear grew
We grew quiet, uncomfortable. Anxiety grew
But we followed. Each with their own dim light.
But the Leaders had a strong light we could follow.
And we went together, encouraging each other.
There was no way back, no simple exit. Just trust in the Guide and follow
Just trust and follow the light
Eventually we emerged by Polesden Lacey where our leaders met us with flasks of hot drink.
Home to BED.
We all sometime enter times of darkness, unfamiliar paths, unknown threats about us.
If we allow it, they can build, dominate. Where is GOD! Take me Away!!
But we are all holders of God’s light. Though we feel it’s dim at times it is ever present.
We have ahead a strong light (Jesus to the World).
If we just follow our feet, we hear the anxiety and fears. We may get home but with so much pain.
But If we follow our Guide (The Holy Spirit) who holds and points us to the light we shall find our path during the darkness safe, and at the end with welcome relief.
There may be rough paths, hurdles to climb, slime to endure, but our Guide knows the way.
Also, the trip will be easier if we share it with our companions on our journey who will encourage and uphold us, as we encourage and uphold them.
In the darkness, know the light is very near to hold and guide, and provide companions along the way. The Light dwells within us. The Light shines in the Darkness and the darkness has never put it out.
Hilton, after the service about light
During 2019 I visited St. Albans Church, Beacon Hill for Acorn services. I noticed that they had both a Crucifix and a Cross in prominent places. This reawakened my thinking about both symbols related to Easter time.
If you enter Roman Catholic, Orthodox and High Anglican Churches you will find that the Crucifix is the predominant symbol; whereas Non-Conformist and Low Anglican Churches favor the Cross.
I feel that we need to honor and cherish both symbols.
When I look upon a Crucifix, I am reminded that Jesus was a real Human Being, and not an idea.
He suffered humiliation, desertion by friends, insults, whipping and finally an unwarranted execution. While he died for all mankind, when I look upon a crucifix it reminds me, He did it for me! ME!
The Crucifix brings me to that point of exceptional Love meeting Mankind’s cruelty. The sight of the body on the cross somehow makes it more real to me. I am drawn to Good Friday. Jesus, wholly Man ( and mysteriously wholly God) , underwent it all to mend the relationship between us and God.
But, as we believe, it wasn’t the End. We have Easter Sunday. The Resurrection declaring new life with God. For this I need the empty Cross. This declares the Victory of Christ. Where the dualism of Christ being wholly Man while wholly God becomes more clear. Also with the empty cross I see there is room for me on the cross, room to put aside myself and embrace Christ’s victory, claim the new life for myself through Him.
For me the two symbols span the Easter message.
Just as we need both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and cannot embrace one without the other so I believe we should cherish both the Crucifix and the Cross as symbols of those days, but also as a means to contemplate deeper the meanings of both days.
I believe that we need to honor and cherish both symbols equally. Above All its all about HIM.
Oh dear! When it comes to technology, I am not very bright. I do have a degree but not in IT.
I have had a computer for about twenty years now and have always been able to use it to ask Google, to receive and send emails, to buy things from Amazon, to book hotels, to do research into family history and for limited word processing. A few years ago, my daughter bought me a tablet which I love and use all the time. I have also used a mobile phone for twenty years but only acquired a smart phone two years ago. So, now I am surrounded by all my devices and my dining room has become an office.
However, for a year now, I have been severely challenged. Who on earth had heard of Zoom a year ago? Not to mention RingCentral meetings and Google Meet. Fear and trepidation whenever I first tried to get onto Zoom. We still have our moments! I also joined Facebook last year which brought with it Messenger which I use to speak to friends and family all the time and can actually see them, too. It can also be used for group meetings which is useful. My main achievement more recently has been to record readings and prayers for our church Zoom services. I do have my limitations though. I am not able to set up and host a Zoom meeting and most embarrassingly, I cannot answer my mobile phone! I also dread having to buy any new appliance albeit washing machine or television. I have also not yet mastered internet banking either. Use of technology – always a challenge!
But, where would we be without all this technology? Isolated. Church services, prayer meetings, PCC meetings and Deanery Synod, courses, home group, seeing friends and family, entertainment, quizzes on Kahoot. I must say also, that I am somewhat relieved not to have to turn out to meetings on cold, wintry evenings or snowy Sunday mornings! So, I shall keep on working to improve my technology and try and overcome my fear!
See you in the chat room!
I was talking to a stranger on my recent walk and told her about the Derbyshire village of Eyam. In the 16th Century the Black Death (Plague) spread about the known world. An infected cloth arrived and brought the plague to the village, with great courage they decided to isolate themselves buying produce at the parish boundary in jars of vinegar.
Over 70% of the village died, but the plague didn’t spread to the surrounding area.
More recently Spanish flu spread across the world (many of our Canadian servicemen war graves died of the flue in service after WW1). So many died across the world. So to Covid – this is NOT the first Plague to attack the world.
How are your hopes at this time? Are you looking down or looking up?
I’m a fan of Sea Shanties. HOLD FAST was often the cry. Keep on course, see it through. Courage through the storm and hope for tomorrow.
So what for today? Our ancestors stood the test. Tomorrow came! Some believed it was the end days, whilst many just thanked God. They saw it through with honour. We follow the rules and isolate as requested, BUT trust our GOD to see us through.
Our task is to HOLD FAST. Fast (strong) to the experts advice. Fast to the protection of all we love. Fast to our God who has promised to walk with us in the dark places and take us out into light and hope. Fast to a Saviour who never fails us.
He has promised to never leave us.
Jesus can still ANY storm.
I was out walking and saw several snowmen melting into the earth. I started thinking of us ( keep reading it’s not miserable!). Snowmen are created with a lot of love. Each one is crafted individually with their own shape and context. They give joy at their “birth” and happy memories when they go. In many ways we are the same. Our Creator takes delight in making us completely individual, (but thankfully without carrot noses!). He creates us in love, and stands back with joy. We are celebrated by our family and friends for the season and then move onwards to our homecoming to join water/mist which is often the image “Water of Life etc”. So I’m celebrating Snowmen. I don’t know when I’ll melt into the earth, but I know my Creator will be there. He will see the joy and love I’ve spread and prepared to dance with me.
Let melting snowmen give you hope.