An invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation to escape from darkness
I will admit that November is not my favourite month of the year. I think it is partly because the clocks go back at the end of October. Suddenly, it’s just about dark at four in the afternoon. Daylight becomes a precious commodity – at least if you live in Sutherland.
And, as I write this, it is still another month till the shortest day of the year. December is even darker than November. But while December is the darkest month of the year, at least it has one redeeming feature (at least it’s a redeeming feature for those of us who are under 10): December isn’t just the month with the shortest day of the year; it is also the month with Christmas.
And Christmas is the time of the year when it is traditional for people to think about the birth of Jesus – even though we don’t actually know what time of year he was born.
But if Jesus was born in December, it would (in one way at least), be very appropriate, because the Bible often speaks of Jesus as being like a light in the darkness. Hence Jesus said things like: “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” and “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
That’s obviously picture language – but what did he mean? Well, when we speak of somebody being in the dark, we mean that they don’t know something. And we also use darkness as a picture of not being very happy. (Think of the word “gloom”.) But even more than that, darkness is a picture of evil. It is no accident that in the Star Wars films, Darth Vader is shown dressed entirely in black, rather than, say, bright green. It just makes him look evil – and scary.
That is why Jesus spoke about himself as being “light”. It is why he said “I am the light of the world”. And it is why the invitation to follow him is so wonderful – because it is an invitation to escape from darkness – it means being able to escape from the power of evil. And that in turn means being able to understand what life is really about and see the way to go. And in the end, it means being able to have real joy.
by John Mann, Elder, Bonar Bridge & Lairg Free Church
Bonar Bridge & Lairg Free Church website Elder: John Mann 01863 766 472
Scottish Episcopal Church website Priest in Charge: Rev James Currall 01862 881 737
Kyle of Sutherland Churches website KCE: Rev Mary Stobo 01863 766 868
List of regular services:
Kyle of Sutherland Churches
Creich Parish Church of Scotland
Sunday Services: October to March (inc) 10.30 am - April to September (inc) 11.30 am
ROSEHALL PARISH CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Sunday Services: October to March (inc) 12 noon – April to September (inc) 10 am
KINCARDINE PARISH CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Sunday Services: October to March (inc) 11 am – April to September (inc) 11 am
EDDERTON PARISH CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Sunday Services: December to March (inc) No Sunday Service due to winter weather – April to October (inc) 11 am
Scottish Episcopalian Church
St Andrew’s, Tain Sunday – 11am
St Finbarr’s, Dornoch Sunday – 11am
St Maelrubha’s, Lairg at Lairg Church of Scotland 8:15am on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month
Other regular Services
ARDGAY @ Hollybank 10:30am 2nd Tuesday of each month
Christians @ THE HUB 5:30 pm 4th Tuesday of each month.
St Trolla’s @ the Crask Inn Third Thursday of each month at noon.
Bonar Bridge and Lairg Free Church
DECEMBER: 15th – Lairg 11.00, Bonar 6.30. 22nd – Bonar 11.00, Lairg 6.30. 29th – Lairg 11.00 Bonar 6.30.
JANUARY: 5th – Bonar 11.00, Lairg 6.30. 12th – Lairg 11.00, Bonar 6.30. 19th – Bonar 11.00, Lairg 6.30. 26th – Lairg 11.00, Bonar 6.30
FEBRUARY: 2nd – Bonar 11.00, Lairg 6.30. 9th – Lairg 11.00, Bonar 6.30. 16th – Bonar 11.00, Lairg 6.30. 23rd – Lairg 11.00, Rosehall 3.00
Wednesdays (all at 7.30 pm)
DECEMBER: 18th – Bonar Bridge. Monday 23rd – Bonar Bridge.
JANUARY: Friday 3rd – Lairg. Wednesday 8th – Lairg. 15th – Bonar Bridge. 22nd – Bonar Bridge. 29th – Lairg
FEBRUARY: 5th – Lairg. 12th – Lairg. Wednesday 19th – Bonar Bridge Wednesday 26th – Bonar Bridge
Tain, St Vincent de Paul: 10 am
Brora, Christ the King: 11 am
Dornoch, St Finbarr: 4 pm