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We Are The Light of The World

One of the big bosses came down to Luton last week to see his daughter Grace installed as the vicar of St. Luke’s Leagrave and one question was what role might he play? John Sentamu Archbishop of York may I suppose have chosen to join the processions adding extra splendour to the occasion or perhaps have taken the opportunity to preach but he did neither of these things but sat demurely with his family in the congregation. He you might say he hid his light under a bushel, but did he?

We often struggle with the ideas and practice of leadership, it is like those bowls of bear’s porridge that Goldilocks discovered, our leaders are seen to be and reported as either too strident or too weak, their every decision is scrutinised and found wanting; the elusive bowl of just right, rarely if ever acknowledged. In particular we British do not like brashness, yet as Christians Jesus says we are to be the “light of the world” and that we should put it on the lamp stand so that we “let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works.

So how do we show the light, how do we give light to the whole house? Paul has some things to say about this to the Corinthians. “I came to you” he says “in weakness and in fear, my speech was not with plausible words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit. We speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden – none of the rulers of this age understood this. [Otherwise they would not have crucified Jesus.

Jesus came into the world as “the light of the world” not to blind us with brilliance but to illuminate our understanding and our path through this earthly life. Jesus was above all a servant leader, he came to show us by presence word and deed, by submitting himself, by sacrificing himself for our sins how we should behave towards God and to one another.

Our light, yours and mine is, as our Gospel said, not to give glory to us but to give glory to God, it must give people space, space to hear and see the message of the Gospel, and the space as Jesus did to allow people to be who they are so they too can live it out with a demonstration of the Spirit.

Of course the Archbishop of York did the right thing, he took the role of a father, supporting encouraging and enabling his daughter to take the centre stage in an important step of her journey, giving all the rest of us the space to be the congregation, readers and priests of the parish and not at all, with his light under any bushel but with it filtering and dappling in the proper way lighting the whole house completing the picture and setting Grace and us off in the right direction.



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