The light of the world, John 8:12-20
21st Mar 2019
Why would you paint the same picture three times?
What captures your imagination that you want to keep on thinking about it?
Who or what is your light of the world?
My light of the world is semi-hidden. By which I mean a reproduction of the Holman Hunt picture inherited from my Grandma, possibly because I was the ‘religious’ grandchild, hangs in our utility area. It is not on public display but I know it is there and I am still fascinated by the beauty of the colours, the intricacy of the painting and the evocation of Revelation 3.20: ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock’. I loved this picture as a child, Grandma’s house was a treasure trove of things that brought me delight but that and a chipped owl lamp base are what now dwell in my home. I have a growing awareness of how images of Jesus I was familiar with in my childhood shaped me and the visual for me was paintings and stained glass windows. I don’t remember a TV Jesus from my childhood.
I do remember Lent as a child though, not because of giving something up but because at Sunday School we were encouraged to give to others, each week we took a small gift which would be sent to children somewhere who didn’t have what we had. I do also remember a window sill with lots of Easter Eggs on it and hot cross buns fresh from the bakers on Good Friday, back then the only day you could buy them! I lament a little the all year round availability of hot cross buns, some of the celebration has gone and I wonder how many know their history.
The statement ‘I am the light of the world’ follows on from the story where Jesus challenges those who were going to stone a woman caught in adultery. For that woman, Jesus is so clearly the light of the world, he comes into her life and gives her a fresh start, a new perspective, if she chose to take it. There are so many questions we can have about what happened next in the gospel stories, so often there are no answers. For me, I know I made a decision to follow Jesus who is my light of the world and that choice is a choice for yesterday, today and tomorrow. It has shaped my worldview, my vocation and my actions and I try to be a light to others, I hope that in some ways I testify to Jesus as he testified to the Father. Some days that light may seem a little hidden like my picture at home but that Jesus is the light of the world is a profound truth that I return to again and again and pray that others may grasp that truth too.
For lots of interesting background material on the Holman Hunt painting see here: