Week One – The Light of Christ
written by Alison Judd
Picture: ‘The Light of the World’ by Holman Hunt
Have you noticed how the spring sunshine shows up all the dirty marks on your windows, and the dust on your window sills? Does it encourage you to start spring cleaning, inside and out? I admit I tend to do such chores just before visitors arrive!
On this first Sunday of Lent 2017, this painting by Holman Hunt invites us to open the door of our lives to the light of Christ. Jesus, the light of the world, comes to reveal those parts of our lives that need to be ‘deep cleaned’. He comes, not as a critical visitor, but to reveal the love of God to individuals who struggle in the darkness of shame and guilt.
The original painting by Holman Hunt hangs in Keble College. Their website* states:
‘There are two lights shown in the picture. The lantern is the light of conscience and the light around the head is the light of salvation with the door representing the human soul, which cannot be opened from the outside. There is no handle on the door, and the rusty nails and hinges overgrown with ivy denote that the door has never been opened and that the figure of Christ is asking for permission to enter. The bright light over the figure is the morning star, the dawn of the new day, and the autumn weeds and fallen fruit represent the autumn of life. The writing under the picture, which is rather hard to read, is taken from Revelation 3 ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.’
To ponder: Take time to allow the light of Christ to penetrate into the darker areas of your life, the parts that you are ashamed to show to others. Be honest as you make confession. Receive God’s gift of forgiveness.
Call on the Holy Spirit to help you approach the events of Holy Week and Easter with humility, repentance and thanksgiving.
Prayer: Jesus, I willingly invite you to shine your light into the dark recesses of my life. I do so trusting in your desire to forgive, cleanse and transform me through the power of your sacrificial love. Reveal to me those parts of my being that need to be changed. As the bright morning star ushers in the dawn of a new day, help me to make a fresh start with you. Amen.
Hymn: Singing the Faith 706 Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Bible link: John 12: 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should remain in darkness.
These Lent reflections are written to link with the 2017 Easter Offering Dedication service, ‘Shine like Stars’ which will be used by most circuits of the Methodist Church in Britain during the weeks following Easter. Orders of service and other resources can be found at www.mwib.org.uk