Thursday, 2 July 2009

enlightenment in an Indian restaurant

light fitting

You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God

Matthew 5:14-16

Sitting in an Indian restaurant having a meal with friends my imagination was caught by these elaborate light fittings. Rather than having a shade the light was  shining off a brightly coloured background and shining through the translucent petals of a flower pattern fitment. It seemed to be a visual analogy of how we radiate the love of God in Jesus Christ. The utter simplicity of the imperative to "love one another as I have loved you" is personalised and individualised within and through each one of us. Although each human 'light stand' is unique the spectrum of God's inclusive and liberating love is consistent. The shapes and patterns of our being should not detract from nor blot out the light of divine love, but rather they should complement and draw attention to its marvellous propensity to enlighten and illuminate us.

As the images make clear, the light brings out the very best in that through which it shines so brightly. It changes our perception of something which might otherwise be perceived as being dull and unattractive. What we see are "God-colours" and an illuminating testimony to a radiant beauty which would otherwise be hidden. The challenge is to open up to others about the light of the world at work in our lives in such a way that they might then in turn be open to the possibility of what life might look like when the light shines through them too. 

light fitting 2


  1. I am fascinated by what you have captured here Dave, I would probably have dismissed these light fittings as hideous, rather than seeing in them the message that you have drawn out...

    ...but then that is how so many people saw Christ, thanks for the food for thought!

  2. This triggered the memory of a quote from Thomas Merton's "Seeds of contemplation". When I looked it up it is related, if tangentially; "The human Christ concentrates the rays of God's light to a point that sets fire to man (sic) as a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun." It's one that's stayed with me.
    (This would, however, probably be an undesirable quality for lampstands in restaurants!!)

    Thanks again for the Stilling the Storm relections. I've brought them "home" and people have been challenged by them.

  3. Bless you both for commenting. I am glad to have given you some food for thought Sally and thanks for the Merton too Rachel!