From out of the mouths of children…
Last week I took part in “Experience Church”, a special event for children in St Mark’s Church, Leamington Spa.
The event was organised by Ros Davies our lovely and energetic Children and Family Worker. 130 Brownies and Guides toured four “stations” in our church, in groups of five or six.
The four stations were:
1) The Church Welcomes.
2) The Church Prays.
3) The Church Teaches.
4) The Church Serves.
My daughter Abigail and I were in charge of the Stained Glass station – The Church Serves.
We asked the girls why churches have stained glass windows and what the purpose of them is, then we talked about some of the stories that are told in the windows, and the people in those stories, and the lives they led; people who serve God in this life by “shining a light” in the way they behave to others. Then the girls painted jam-jars with glass paints and we set them on the altar steps in front of lighted candles so we could see the light shining through them.
So first we asked the girls, “has anyone been kind and generous to you in the last few days – or today?”
One of the girls said her friend had stood up for her; another said her mum gave her some sweets, and another mentioned that her older sister is kind to her. We also heard, “all the people in my school. I’ve just moved to a new school and they have all made me feel really welcome.” And the other two said, “Yes!” because they were in her group at school and were among those who had welcomed her. And with every act of kindness, a light shines out into the world.
Light is a strong symbol in the Christian faith as in others.
People who are kind and generous to others may be described as shining a light in the world. Images of light are abundant in the Old and in the New Testament. One of the many names by which Jesus is known is The Light of the World. When a tragedy happens with mass fatalities, the instinct of all of us, religious or non-religious, is to light a candle for those souls who have perished.
I don’t believe we should equate darkness with evil, but unfortunately there is a strong symbolic correlation in the popular mind. Nevertheless, light is something we can all relate to. We see a light shining through people who act with goodness in this world.
In the recent appalling tragedy of Grenfell Tower, we saw people in the local community acting with goodness, kindness and generosity; a natural outpouring of empathy and a desire to serve.
Through these people, a light shone out into a situation of immense and ongoing pain and anguish.
What about you? Who has been kind and generous to you today, or in the past few days?
If you have enjoyed this post, here are a couple of my past posts on the subject of light:
The Power of Light to Uplift the Spirit
Darkness into Light: Celtic Spirituality
4 thoughts on “Goodness, Kindness and Love Amidst Tragedy: Let Your Light Shine in the World”
My husband is kind and generous to me every day. He’s my shining light in these dark days
So glad to read this, Noelle. You have reminded me of how powerful words of appreciation are to those closest to us!
That is a beautiful message, and so very appropriate as we experience so many challenges at the moment. I am surrounded by kind people within my local community. Just last week I was struggling with my youngest daughter and night terrors, sleep deprived, hot and bothered, and I vented on Facebook. I was surprised at how quickly my local friends responded with supportive words and reassurance. Sometimes that is all we need to drag us out of a dark place. They certainly were my light last week, and much need as well.
That is a lovely example, Catherine. Words are so powerful – both the right words spoken at the right time, and also words left unspoken when it is appropriate to do so. Words of encouragement and support can mean all the difference to someone going through tough times, and I’m happy for you that you were able to find new strength through knowing that others were thinking of you and upholding you with their empathy and warmth.