Thought for the Month

November is the month when the long dark nights of Autumn truly begin. Many people go to work in the dark and find that the sun has set before they finish work.

 

At this time of year we celebrate All Saints. All Saints Day falls on the 1st November, but we celebrate it in Church on the nearest Sunday, so this year All Saints Sunday is on the 31st October.

 

At All Saints we are reminded of our Christian Baptism. At every Baptism service we light the Easter Candle, a reminder of the Divine Light which shone in Christ, a light which the forces of evil and chaos tried to quench, but a light which overcame death and hell and chaos in the Resurrection of Jesus.

 

The Easter Candle is a symbol of Christ’s victory. At the Baptism Service we take a light from the Easter Candle and present it to the newly baptised. As the candle is presented, these words are said:

 

You have received the light of Christ;

walk in this light all the days of your life.

Shine as a light in the world
to the glory of God the Father.

 

We live in a world where there is real suffering, where people struggle; a world in which there is real evil, and too often this evil seems to be victorious. We only need to watch the news to see the terrible reality, not only of suffering, but of evil.

 

We pray for the victims, we cry out to God in solidarity with those who suffer. And what is God’s answer to our prayers and cries? The Bible gives no answer, at least not in words. Instead it points us to Jesus, dying on the Cross with us in our suffering, for us as our Saviour. The cross tells us that we are never alone, that we are not abandoned, that the God who meets us in Jesus is with us. Always.

 

But that is not all. It also points us to Easter Day and the empty tomb; the victory of Christ over sin and death, over evil and hell. The resurrection of Jesus is hope for those who have no hope.

 

The symbol of this hope and of Christ’s victory is the candle that we light at Easter, and the response of Christ’s Church to the reality of suffering and evil and chaos is for each of us to let the light of Jesus shine in us and through us.

 

In us to guide us as we live as God’s children, called to be saints wherever we find ourselves; and through us to bring the light of hope to others.

 

On All Saints we remember those who have inspired us to live as Christ’s lights in the world, and we resolve to let His light shine through us to the glory of God the Father.

 

God bless you,

Tim