Dear Church Family
I was walking down High Petergate last week, approaching St Michael le Belfrey Church. A few minutes earlier it had been raining and so the ground was wet. But now the rain had stopped, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out. As the sun shone down, the wet pavements acted like a mirror, powerfully reflecting and radiating the sun in glorious splendour. It was so dazzling I had to slow down as it became difficult to see many paces ahead. But I didn't mind. Because the intensity of the light in my eyes and the warmth I could feel on my face was magnificent!
This experience made me think of how heaven is described as a place 'that does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp' (Rev 21:23). And I was reminded of the prophet Daniel who, in his vision of Christ described 'his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches and his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze' (10:6). And I thought too of the apostle John, who saw the risen Christ in heaven with 'eyes like blazing fire' (1:14) and whose 'face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance' (1:16). Heaven will be a place of great light because of Jesus - the Light of the world - who shines like the sun. As we work and pray for God's kingdom to come here in the North as it is in heaven, so we're seeking for God's light to come and shine.
Light is such a simple and powerful picture that everyone can identify with. As the clocks change and go back this weekend (don't forget!) and winter draws in, we'll notice it feeling darker and we'll become even more aware of our need for light. This need for light is universal. We need physical light to help us see, and the light of Christ to enable us to see the love of our great Father.
Light is an important Advent theme which we'll pick up in a few weeks time. We'll hear again that 'the people walking in darkness have seen a great light' (Isaiah 9:2). What is this great light? The light is a person - Jesus Christ. And who are these people who see? The people are those who know Christ. Ordinary, blessed people like you and me who, by God's grace have come to know Christ and experience him as the true Light. What a privilege!
With privilege goes responsibility. Not just to enjoy the Light, but to pass on the Light. That's why we do Invitation Sundays (like last weekend), Alpha courses (like the one beginning next week) and regularly offer at our services the opportunity to commit to Christ. For Christ is the bright, glorious 'radiance of God's glory' (Hebrews 1:3). There is no other like him.