View from the Vicarage
LIGHTING BEACONS–SHINE, JESUS, SHINE!
When I was a child, I lived quite close to a beacon – a highpoint in the landscape and I was fascinated by the big metal basket on a pole that was at the summit. I was told that the beacon was lit for big national celebrations. I had to wait for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations to see that for myself, as the beacons were lit up and down the country. The joy of this memory will once again be rekindled for me as we gather around the tower of Saint Mary’s on the evening of Thursday the 2nd of June to see the beacon lit this year at 9.45 p.m. to launch Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Ponteland. This will follow after a piper plays from 9.35 p.m. A steel band is also booked, and we may have our church bells ringing earlier and something from our wonderful church choir. Watch this space…
Lighting beacons is an ancient way of signaling special news. Now we generally only use beacon lighting for celebrations, but for centuries and all across the world all sorts of important news has travelled by beacon. There is a great scene in The Lord of the Rings when the warning beacons of Gondor are lit as Minas Tirith comes under siege.
In these weeks after Easter, we have snapshots of the disciples after the resurrection going about lighting beacons with the love of Jesus. God is calling everyone into the kingdom, even those who used to be outsiders. There are no outsiders anymore. This is the good news of Jesus Christ; this is the beacon. The good news of Jesus is universal and not just reserved for a few. Beacons are being lit all over the place and followers of Jesus are always running to catch up with the love of God. The call to bear the light and to be light beacons was given to each of us at our baptism. “Shine as a light in the world, to the glory of God the Father” we say to the newly baptized when they receive their lit candle, the symbol of their commissioning. Our lives as Christians should be shaped by the light of Christ and his beacon call to love one another as he has loved us. This is not romantic, sentimental love. Jesus’ love is tough and courageous, committed and sacrificial. We are called to be beacons of light, revealing the love of God to all around us, by lives, actions, words and prayers. To be visible signs of God’s love for the world.
How might you light a beacon for someone? What could you do or say or pray that might help another to begin to experience the love of God? Thy kingdom come is a call to prayer for all Christians around the world. It’s a call to light up the world with the love of Christ. This year as in previous years, we are called to pray in the days leading up to Pentecost, praying that the Holy Spirit will fall on people afresh. This call to prayer is not to the faithful few – this is absolutely for all of us to pray. One way to prepare for this is to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in who you should be praying for this year. If you are not sure that you’re ready to do that and you need to be reassured that God loves you and is calling you, ask to be filled with the courage and commitment of Jesus so that you can show his love, lighting a beacon for our community, nation and world.