Monday, 24 January 2011

We have seen a great light

Among our congregation, we are privileged to have Emmanuel Oladipo, who was previously the International Director for Scripture Union. He was our preacher on Sunday morning, 23 January, and was preaching from the text in Isaiah 9:2, fulfilled in Matthew 4:16: "The people (of Zebulon and Naphtali) who walked in darkness have seen a great light." He reminded us that Jesus himself had said: "I am the light of the world." And, perhaps even more remarkable, Jesus had said of his followers, which includes us, "you are the light of the world."

Emmanuel recorded how Zebulon and Naphtali had been areas of great sin, yet Jesus had chosen that area, by then called Galilee, to be the centre for his ministry and had chosen most of his apostles from its population. As Christ brings his light upon our world, he is able to make enormous changes. Emmanuel spoke of the way that Pope Gregory had seen the child slaves from England in the Roman marketplace and had sent Augustine to bring the Gospel to southern England. He reminded us of the way that Christians had been prominent in the movement to abolish slavery and of one child slave who, in consequence, had been freed by the British Navy, working in the darkness that was West Africa at the time. That slave was the Nigerian, Samuel Crowther (photo) who then came to faith in Christ. He had enormous influence in spreading the news of Christ, the light of the world, in Nigeria and became the first Black Anglican Bishop. It was as a consequence of his ministry that Emmanuel's father ultimately came to know the joy of the light of Christ in his life.

Nowhere and nothing is too evil or too dark to be able to be changed by the light of Christ. It is our challenge to spread that light.