“Carrying a candle from one little place of shelter to another is an act of love…look how the human hand that cradles it has become translucent: fragile and beautiful; foolish and loving. Step by step. The wind is stronger than this hand and the darkness infinite around this tiny here-and-now flame, that wavers, but keeps burning: carried with such care through an uncaring world – from one little place of shelter to another. An act of love.
The Light shines in the darkness…and the darkness can never put it out.”Jan Sutch Pikard
It has been a busy few but lovely days. I didn’t know until this morning that light was an ongoing, emerging theme. It began without my knowing on Sunday, when Brenda insisted we go out to see Edinburgh in the early morning. We were not disappointed.
We later attended communion service here. (watch the whole thing if you’d like, or just take in the amazing choir pieces, or catch a glimpse of Brenda and me at about 1:03:50) St. Giles is the High Kirk of Edinburgh (the “capital” of the Church of Scotland in a sesne) and the parish church of John Knox.
It was such a privilege to worship there. The liturgical calendar dictates that the subject on the Sunday after Easter is the so-called “Doubting Thomas”. What a deep encouragement to be included in the blessing Jesus gave to ALL OF US when he said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” That’s me. That’s you. When you think about it, it has to do with light. Seeing, strictly speaking, is simply light bouncing off something and entering your eye. Blessed are those who have not had the light bounce off Jesus body and enter their eyes…but instead receive the light directly…not reflected, not projected, but manifested inside them. It’s the difference between standing in the spotlight, and being the spotlight. Matthew 5:14
The theme continued (again, unconsciously) for the next three days. Each day either began with a glorious sunrise, ended with a wondrous sunset, or both. We’re at about 55 degrees North latitude here (about the same as Ketchikan, Alaska) and so the Spring light comes at you from a lower angle. It plays differently on scenes of budding trees, singing birds, emerging grasses and rising mists. The light is thicker. It feels almost like a liquid. It has substance.
This week has been an “Inner and Outer Retreat” at Nether Springs. That means 6 people are here to live the rhythm of the day with those of us on the house team, but we serve them. They are given some resources to focus on deepening their relationship with God (inner) and offered support for exploring some of the sacred places in Northumberland (outer). These moments of weighty light have been occuring in the chapel during the daily offices. There’s a sense that the light is a participant in the prayers.
Time for both Brenda and I has been split largely between KP, and being available to the retreatants. This means chatting before and after meals, sitting in silence after prayer, and in one case today, providing some one-on-one guidance with their inner work. Another real privilege.
As I mentioned before, the landlords at Acton House put aside cattle a few years ago and started an alpaca herd. We can see them out of our bedroom window. But on Tuesday this week, a few younger ones were dropped off to be added to the group. Apparently they are quarantined for a few days before being introduced to the grown ups, so they are kept in a pen down by the vegetable garden, where I was able to get in some garden work while these knuckleheads looked on. They make a remarkably cute sound if they’re in a curious, welcoming mood.
May your light shine forth today. Protect it. Know that, though it seems insignificant it is a power that God has placed in you, and therefore it can NOT be insignificant, only misunderstood.