Written by Robin Green
‘And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.’
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’
This, the fourth Sunday in Lent, is sometimes referred to as Mid-Lent Sunday. We are more than half way through Lent; twenty-two days have passed and there are only 18 days to go till Easter. It is also Mothering Sunday or more colloquially Mother’s Day. It is as if a candle has been lit in this dark time of year. A candle is often used as a symbol for light, for illumination, for inspiration. Jesus is the true light, and, as our selected verse says, he came into the world but the people preferred darkness. For in that darkness the evil nature of their deeds is not apparent, since it is not illuminated.
In the past few centuries, a wonderful technological civilisation has developed from which the lives of all of us have been immeasurably improved. Generally, we have not thought about our civilisation in spiritual terms. True we have now come to recognise that our exploitation of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, has led to climate change and this must stop to prevent a climate catastrophe. But what is the spiritual nature of our corporate exploitation?
Let’s just consider one fact: it is estimated that in one year the world’s population burns an amount of fossil fuels that it has taken our earth about four hundred thousand years to produce by natural processes. So, we are using up fossil fuels at four hundred thousand times the rate they can be produced. That’s extravagant – or worse it’s prodigal – and Jesus had an important parable about that.
Dear Lord God, we thank you for all your wonderful gifts to us, in particular, for the world we inhabit and its fantastic environment. We thank you too for the gifts that science and technology have uncovered. In the book of Genesis, we are told that you made humankind stewards of this environment; teach us Lord not to be careless stewards who thoughtlessly exploit what you have given us. Where we have done so, we confess to you our sin and ask your forgiveness and admit that we have been unworthy of being called your children. We ask too for forgiveness from future generations, both born and unborn, who must make right the results of our carelessness.
Teach us your ways Lord so that all that we do may be pleasing to you and contribute to the building of your kingdom. Help us to concentrate on and understand the light of the world that is your Son, Jesus. Let that light illuminate the path that we should be taking. Help us too Lord on our journey through this season of Lent, a journey that we must follow in hope, as we remember that it culminates in the wonder of the resurrection. Alleluia, Amen.
Your item – a candle
This week’s item is a candle. Light the candle as you reflect on the workings of the Holy Sprit in your life.
Questions for further reflection
- How do you understand the working of the Holy Spirit in your life? Maybe you can only hope to recognise it in retrospect.
- Jesus said that all sins could be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Spirit. What do you understand by this hard saying?
For previous parts of our Journey through Lent go to: https://wellingtonchurch.co.uk/category/lent/Lent2021/