Monday, 22 February 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 11—Elements of Light

Open our eyes to acknowledge your presence,
that freed from the misery of sin and shame
we may grow into your likeness from glory to glory.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
…is what I’m praying in the opening prayer of thanksgiving in Evening Prayer each day. Open my eyes so I can see more clearly and be set free from all that darkens and ensnares me.

Just as a camera lens is made up of several “elements,” which direct and process the light rays coming from a scene to create a sharp, accurately colour-rendered photographic image, so the six spiritual disciplines of a Holy Lent as listed The Book of Alternative Services, p282, are the six elements of a very high definition devotional lens. Through it the God who is light (1 John 1.5) will etch Jesus himself, the very image of the invisible God (Col 1.15), onto the image sensors of my heart, soul and mind.

Honest self examination and penitence identifies and cleans away any dirt on my Lenten lens which would otherwise render images out of focus and reduce the amount of light that can get to my image sensors. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving energizes my image sensors, readies them for input and opens the eyes of my heart so I can see the Lord more clearly. Reading and meditating on the Word of God shows me the best scenes upon which to focus, gives me sound instructions on how to operate my spiritual camera and compose the images for maximum accuracy and impact, where to turn my devotional lens and upon what to focus.

All this so, as I allow the holiness of Lent to permeate my being, I can become a clean, sharp, accurate lens myself. A lens through which God the Father can then project Jesus, the radiance and the light of the knowledge of his glory (Heb 1.3; 2 Cor 4.6). I can then truly join in Simeon’s prayer of wonder when he encountered the infant Jesus in the temple—the beautiful and profound Nunc Dimittis of Evening and/or Night Prayer:
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.
So can you. Amen.