Lighting a candle may seem such a small and insignificant thing to do and yet it can and does speak volumes to us if we have open hearts and ears. This coming Sunday- March 22nd– has been designated a National Day of Prayer in Scotland and at 7.00pm we are being encouraged to light a candle and put it in our window as a sign of the life and light that Jesus brings to all. In the words of the Gospel of St John
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never overcome it”
In these days when the darkness of illness, fear and isolation is very real may we take heart and remember that no matter how dark it may seem, the life and the hope that Christ offers can never be extinguished, not by Covid-19 nor indeed anything else!
Since moving to the far north of Scotland I have come to appreciate in a new way just how great the influence of light and dark can be. The long, long daylight hours of summer when I can just about still sit outside and read at gone 11.00pm, has been a new and wonderful experience. The sense of freedom and tranquillity that those long evenings have brought and the special shade of light that comes with those days has been a joy -even if we had to buy blackout curtains to allow us to get some sleep! But the flip side, of course, has been the extremely short days of winter when dog walking had to take place immediately after lunch if it was going to happen-and with two beautiful golden retrievers giving me expectant looks- it has to happen! So much of our life is governed by light and dark and in true Jesus style he uses the images that we are all so familiar with to teach us.
John 8 v 12
“Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
In the darkness it is so easy to get lost, to lose one’s sense of direction and to feel isolated and alone with no visible presence or familiar landmarks. In this current crisis it feels as though the whole world is somewhat lost in unfamiliar territory, struggling to find its way in a situation where there is no map or compass to direct us. What Jesus promises is that if we turn and ask him for guidance, he will take us by the hand and lead us. He will be the light in our darkness, and he will lead us to life-here and in eternity.
Many of you will be familiar with the beautiful collect for aid against all perils, which seems to be a most fitting prayer to end the day.
“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen