A few months ago, we met up with Charlie’s uncle and aunt at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of London. It was a treat for my birthday and we all enjoyed taking in the amazing architecture and history. But despite the multitude of monuments, the one thing I was intent on seeing was a painting by William Holman Hunt entitled Light Of The World.
I first saw a glimpse of it, as my women’s Bible study group watched the latest Alpha course video series a couple years ago. Nicky Gumbel referenced this wonderful painting as he talked about how Jesus invites us into relationship with Him. He doesn’t demand or force himself on us but waits patiently for when we are ready to choose Him. The accompanying Scripture verse with the painting is from Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Ironically, I had been in the cathedral the previous summer for the ordination service of my friend Cara, who became a deacon in the Church of England. It was an amazing service and it was wonderful to take part in the active Christian faith of growing new leaders. But because there were so many people, there wasn’t much time to wander around, and as we were seated on the other side of the cathedral, I never made it to see this beautiful painting.
It was wonderful to visit the cathedral again and I finally made it to see William Holman Hunt’s moving artistic interpretation of Revelation 3:20. The kids were with us that day, so I didn’t get to sit as long as I would have liked, but I was truly delighted to see the painting in person at last. I kept thinking how kind God is. He watched Adam and Eve make a terrible decision, yet He remained a faithful Father to them. He knew that all mankind would sin and reject Him, yet His love went deeper. God made a rescue plan to save people from a life without Him, by sending Jesus to die and rise again. And Jesus doesn’t come with force but instead offers a gentle invitation to do life with Him, taking us straight to the heart of the Father as we accept His offer.
So as the January days are still short, and there physically seems to be more darkness than light, we can remember that Jesus’s light never burns out. He is our eternal light if we ask Him to be our Lord and Saviour. He invites us to go on a spiritual journey but only when we’re ready. He has a patient faithfulness, overflowing with love from the Father’s heart and spread through the Holy Spirit’s working.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
What are some ways Jesus’s light has touched your heart along your faith journey? And how can you share Jesus’s light to the people in your community this week and beyond?