The Season of Coming
Today at The Bield, we welcomed a group from Queensferry who go out and visit the elderly and the housebound in their community. This is a day of renewal and rest for them; a chance to come together and to take stock and reflect on their ministry over the past few years. In the Carpenters Chapel, I placed little cardboard houses amongst the beautiful centrepiece of stars, coloured balls, water and greenery which was created by Liz, our art facilitator. Each house has a small light shining from its centre and our service reflected on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5: 14-16 “You are like light to the whole world”.
Andy Raine, from the Northumbria Community, prophesied several years ago and well before the pandemic, about a time coming when people would be isolated, cut off from each other and familiar demands and expectations. Other people would come in small boats to these islands, bringing news, provisions and encouragement.(1) Our group here today, have been carrying out that light- giving work, going out to isolated people and sharing with them news of the wider church community as well as listening to their individual concerns and sharing in their particular joys and sadness's.
We are living the Season of Coming now as we embark on this first week of Advent. At the heart of spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the notion that divine light permeates the world. God became human in order that humans might participate in God. The vocation of the individual human is to become transfigured light; through our deepening encounter with Jesus, we develop our capacity to behold the divine light which suffuses all creation. It is our vocation as Christians to become transparent windows through which the divine light pours.(2) Ignatius of Antioch, a second century Syrian Bishop, wrote this wonderful description of the birth of Jesus in a letter to the community in Ephesus before he was condemned to die in the amphitheatre in Rome
“A star shone in heaven beyond all the stars, and its light was unspeakable and its newness caused astonishment and all the other stars with the sun and moon gathered round this star , and it exceeded them all in its light and there was perplexity whence came this new thing, so unlike them . By this all magic was dissolved and every bond of wickedness vanished away, ignorance was removed and the old kingdom destroyed for God was manifest as man for the ‘newness’ of eternal life and that which had been prepared by God received its beginning”.
May we find time through this busy Advent season to sit with this image of the unspeakable light of God and in so doing :
Our weakness will be filled with divine strength
Our lies cleansed by divine truth
And our darkness illuminated with divine light.
Metropolitan of Philaret
1. Andy Raine p1235 Celtic Daily Prayer Book 1
2. Living the Season - Wendy M. Wright