This coming Sunday, many worshipping communities will mark the Feast of Candlemas (actually on 2 February) as we recall Mary’s ritual of purification 40 days after the birth of her son. As the baby Jesus is presented in the temple, the old man Simeon recognises and proclaims the Christ Child as the light for all nations.
Last Friday, at the school Christingle service in the Cathedral, we reflected on the truth that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and we heard the words of Christ as told by Matthew in chapter 5. We used contemporary words from The Message Bible: ‘You are here to be light, bringing out the God colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill…’ (Matthew 5: 14-16)
As each child held a lit Christingle, I encouraged them to think about how they reflect the light of Jesus Christ in who they are and what they do. This was echoed on Sunday at a confirmation service in Amberley, at the end of which the confirmation candidates were given a lit candle and sent out to shine as a light in the world – a beautiful reminder that followers of Christ of all ages are ‘here to be light, bringing out the God colours in the world’ every day of the week among the people and places of our lives. For me, that seems particularly poignant in these days when big questions about truth and justice are painted large on the political canvas of our country and beyond.
Soon we will begin another 40 days. This time the 40 days of Lent as we set our eyes towards the pain of the Cross, yet with the hope of Easter day on the horizon. Of course, Ash Wednesday is still some days away, but some of us, as individuals, and worshipping communities, will be thinking ahead and planning how to use those days as we reflect on our lives as members of the body of Christ and focus on what it means for us to ‘bring out the God colours in the world’. So, in this week’s Bulletin (25 January 2022) we are flagging a range of resources that you might want to be thinking about in preparation for Lent. Perhaps think of them as palettes or pots of paints ready to be opened, explored, and enjoyed.
As we live these days ahead may fresh colours of God’s light, love and hope be poured out upon us through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and between us, and may we splash those God colours upon the canvas of daily life in who we are as we go on becoming.
With thanks and prayers as ever,