Meditation Monday – The Thread of Light Through Everything

by Christine Sine
Sunset Anacortes

by Christine Sine

These last couple of weeks have been very important for me. Two weeks ago Tom and I went on one of our regular retreats to Anacortes, about an hour north of Seattle. We stayed in a B&B that looks out over the water. We enjoyed a beautiful few days of sunshine after a long stretch of dark rainy days and I spent much of my time delighting in the changing light of the day. The low-hanging sun glistened on the water and painted the heavens with sunrise and sunset colours of pink and red and orange. And in between sparkling water patterns danced with me through the day. It took my breath away.

Anacortes - winter sun

Anacortes – winter sun photo Christine Sine

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. I read in Psalm 113:3 NIV or as it translates in The Passion Translation From sunrise-brilliance to sunset beauty, lift up his praise from dawn to dusk (113:3

There is something very special about the winter sun in places that are as far from the equator as Anacortes is. Even when it shines through the clouds it quickly catches my attention, sometimes hanging like a great orb of light on the horizon. And when it is hidden behind gloomy rain clouds I am still aware of its life-giving presence. 

Our days away were the perfect introduction to the celebration of Candlemas. On February 2nd, here in the northern hemisphere, it is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This festival marks the celebration of  Christ’s presentation in the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth where Simeon’s beautiful prayer in Luke 2:32 proclaimed him as bringing light to the Gentiles. As a symbol of this, traditionally the candles that would be used throughout the year were blessed on this day. In the northern hemisphere, Candlemas also celebrates the coming of the first signs of spring. In fact I discovered with delight this year that snowdrops – one of the earliest flowers of spring – are known as Candlemas bells. What was even more delightful was that when I raced outside for a look see, I found my snowdrops flowering beautifully in my own garden. 

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This week I merged my joy in the winter sunshine with my celebration of Jesus as the light of the world and my discernment journey for the year.  This is an important season to take note of the light of Christ shining in us, through us and around us. John Philip Newell in his book Sacred Earth Sacred Soul reminds us thatLight is woven through all things like a thread of gold.” Think about it. Without the light of the sun there would be no physical life on earth. Without the light of Jesus there would be no spiritual life. There is indeed a thread of light in all things. 

I am lighting extra candles each morning as I begin my day and reciting the words of Psalm 113:3 in the Passion Translation at the same time. I have some exciting ideas taking shape in my mind and look forward to sharing them with you in the near future.

As I do so, I am also aware that in the church year this is the last celebration of light before we enter the painful journey of Lent in a few weeks’ time. So it really is time to both celebrate the light and prepare for the dark journey of Lent. In a couple of weeks, Lilly and I will facilitate our Lenten virtual retreat Finding Beauty in the Ashes of Lent to help us do just that. We will go on a journey together from the ashes of Ash Wednesday to the beauty of Easter Sunday. This retreat will be a time of great discussion, reflection and creativity that will enrich all of us as we begin the journey of Lent. It’s time to sign up now! If you would like to participate as a group contact us for group rates.

2DB3D700 59D9 4DAE AA99 551B9DB5E9B4So today let’s celebrate the light before we take off the festive clothes of Christmas for the last time. In our Facebook live session last Wednesday (now available on YouTube) Lilly and I talked about some fun ways we can celebrate this festival in our own homes – like with candlelight dinners. As well as that you might like to take time this week to bless the lights that will see you through the year – not just the physical lights but the spiritual lights too. What are the resources you expect will illumine your darkness and give you light? And to start your journey reflect on this beautiful Celtic prayer from the Northumbria community Morning Prayer:

Christ as a light, illumine and guide us.

Christ as a shield, overshadow and cover us.

Christ be under us, Christ be over us.

Christ be beside us, on left and on right.

Christ be before us, Christ be behind us.

Christ be within us, Christ be without us.

Christ as a light, illumine and guide us 

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Finding Beauty in the Ashes of Lent Virtual Retreat

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