Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)
Last Thursday was a beautiful day in Lincoln. Like much of the country it started out incredibly cold. We had had quite heavy snow on Monday followed by light snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday, but on Thursday we had no snow just glorious sunshine. In the afternoon I went for a walk, I wrapped up warm and set out to walk around the streets close to where my parents live. I have devised a circular route from the house that takes me about 40 minutes. While walking I met various other people also out walking, we smiled and acknowledged each other and then continued on our way.
As I walked around the roads I chose the paths that I walked on very carefully. On some paths the walking was very easy, the sun had been shining on these paths and they were clear of all signs of snow and ice, while on other paths the way was far from easy underfoot, the sun had not been able to shine on these paths as they had been in shade all day and the snow and ice still lay on the ground making it difficult and often unsafe to walk on. The contrast between two sides of the same street was often quite marked, the side that had been in the light and the one that had spent the day in the shade.
Today is Shrove Tuesday. It is a day of contrasts; it is the last day before Lent begins and two main traditions are associated with it. The first tradition is the one which comes to mind most readily, that of feasting on things made from butter or fats that we might give up during Lent, giving rise to eating pancakes and also to one of the other titles for Shrove Tuesday, that of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. The second does not come to mind quite so quickly and that is of repentance and absolution before Lent begins. The word shrive means absolve and from this we get Shrove Tuesday. Feasting and repentance seem to me to be very contrasting things associated with one day. One is a form of celebration while the other is a time of reflection.
Jesus came into our dark world as the light of the world. He came not as a mighty warrior or powerful king in the way that people expected. Instead he came in love as a servant, a complete contrast to what was expected. As Christians we are called to live in light and to be a contrast to what people expect. Our values are to be different to the values of the world that we live in. This Lent may we ask God to show us how we can be light in this world to those around us, especially those who feel that they are in the dark.
Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness, opened my eyes, let me see beauty that made this heart adore you, hope of a life spent with you.
Lord, show to me those who I can share your light with.
Song: Light of the world