The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week during the time that we are closed. Even though we cannot currently join together for our usual Friday lunchtime Communion service in the chapel, we hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s reflection is written by Mandy Briggs, Education Officer at the New Room.
I invite you to read Matthew 5: 14-16
“I have been spending some time on top of a hill – or more accurately, a mount.
Due to the current lockdown, my husband Niall and I are both at home. Each day, we go for a walk to get some exercise.
We live about two minutes away from Hanham Mount – a small hill which is steeped in history and story.
In the 17th century, persecuted Baptist field preachers held secret meetings there.
Later, in the 18th century, it was used as a preaching place by George Whitefield and John Wesley.
Hanham Mount was one of the first places where John Wesley preached in the open air and still attracts visitors from all over the world (when travel is permitted). They can stand where Wesley stood and examine a quote from Wesley on the floor – ‘The World Is My Parish’ – before looking out over Bristol, now a much bigger city than it was in Wesley’s day.
In 1951, a green beacon was installed on Hanham Mount (pictured) as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. It was dedicated as a permanent memorial to the field preachers who had spoken to many there about the Christian faith. It was restored in 2007/8.
Now, as I look out of my loft window, I can still see the beacon, shining out into the night in a reassuring (and yes, still green!) way.
The beacon can be seen for miles and is a popular local landmark. It continues to shine in the darkness.
In these strange and anxious times, when we are restricted in terms of movement and our normal routines are disrupted, Jesus still encourages us to “let our light shine before others.”
What does that mean for you? I suspect the answer will be different for everyone.
For now, I offer some encouragement from Shakespeare, from his play The Merchant of Venice:
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
Prayer: Jesus, you are the Light of the World.
We thank you that your light and love can be seen even in the most difficult and challenging places.
May we also find ways to reflect that same light and love into the online and offline communities that we are part of. In your name, Amen.