Luke 1:78-79 (NRSV)
By the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Colossians 1: 11-20 (GNT)
May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.
Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.
This is the light that comes to us as we walk in the way of Christ … illumination of a better way, when, in isolation, all feels lost. In times of change, confusion, anger, doubt, hurt and trauma, light is still present and breaks through, seeping out of the enfolding darkness. Unexpected light in the midst of the shadows – the light of hope, love and courage. The strength found in this love encourages us, draws us and enlightens us to a way forward in the midst of shadows of our human experiences.
As we draw towards the last day of the Church Year, we are reminded that God grows in us a light that guides us to be a visible presence of the invisible gifts of God’s Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. By the tender compassion of our God, we glimpse the visible likeness of the invisible reign of the powerful presence that reconciles the world to the first in all things. God’s unconditional and restorative love is the very nature of which we are drawn to, upheld by, enfolded in, and we are unexpectedly delighted with hope and joy in seemingly hopeless moments. All things find they have their proper place, in their being and living, through this source of the whole person of Christ. Now, that is something to celebrate – the light from within and beyond the shadows.
Light of hope
when I cannot see beyond the shadow
Light of love
when I am held fast in the cold of isolation
Light of peace and patience
Grant me tranquil perseverance
when I long to give up in the difficult moment
Light of kindness and goodness
when trauma and hurt is dark with horror
Light of faithfulness
Hold me fast
in the assurance of your presence
Light of humility
Grant me grace
beyond my own human shadows
Light of self-control
to be in the moment, knowing no shadow can cover it
Light of tenderness
Your compassionate reign
shines deep in the very heart of all being and living,
breaking as a new dawn
in all that clouds the way forward – before, in the now and beyond
With awe, wonder, abundant thanks, and delight
Praise be to you, God of Light,
For out of the shadows, I am drawn to new life.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 16/11/2022
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