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Following the light

Reflections from our Support manager, Iain Anderson

As a child I had a bit of a fascination with lighthouses. Possibly the result of lots of childhood holidays in north west Scotland, possibly because I was a bit of a geeky child! I was always intrigued by how they worked and who lived in them.

It’s been a bit of a recurring theme in my faith too, an image I’ve been reminded of at various points. At its simplest, it can be a reminder to keep focused on God as we navigate life. Sometimes the sailing is relatively smooth and keeping our heading is easy enough. At other times, life’s storms can mean that you can lose sight of the light between the waves and just to keep pointing in the right direction, let alone making any headway, is really difficult. However, it can be in those darkest times that the light appears at its brightest and most welcome. If we can fix our eyes on God and His light, we know we’re heading in the right direction.

Perhaps a different interpretation is that in a way, we can also be like lighthouse keepers. We don’t provide the light - Jesus takes care of that - but we do have a role to play in helping others to see it. In the days before modern LEDs, lighthouses used complex arrangements of glass prisms and discs called Fresnel lenses to make the light brighter and more focused, meaning a single candle or bulb could be visible from many miles away. And sometimes I think that’s our job, in life and certainly here at Hope. We can be the lens that God shines His light through making it visible and magnifying it so others can see it through the wind, rain and darkness. What we do, and even more so, how we do it, matters in reflecting and magnifying that light to others.

Another interesting thing (well, interesting if you’re a lighthouse geek perhaps!) is that the prisms and discs of a Fresnel lens don’t really work as well in isolation. It’s when you have a number of them working together that the light is really magnified. In the same way, we might feel that our skills, gifts or abilities don’t make much difference, or that we don’t have as much of a role to play as others. In reality we all have our own small but important part to play in showing God’s light to those around us - and as part of a community we are able to make that light even more visible.

God’s hope and light is there for everyone and yet so many people haven’t yet seen it and live in a seemingly dark and hopeless world. I’d like to think that as individuals and as an organisation, we can let God’s light shine through us, reflecting and magnifying it to those in need and pointing the way to new hope.

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