This is the longest day – at least in the northern hemisphere. Call it midsummer if you like – or the summer solstice. It’s well known that our ancient forebears observed this cycle of the seasons and constructed temples of stone, carefully aligned to mark the moment. Stonehenge is one such place and as I speak hundreds will be gathered at dawn today to experience the arrival of the sun. We wish you well, and hope the weather is kind.
For Christians, the arrival of light into darkness is a potent theme in both our Scriptures, and our history. Jesus referred to himself as the light of the world – something which his critics would have branded egotistical, but it was said without a trace of hubris. Through the centuries, religious artists perfected the skill of staining glass and building its different colours into magnificent stories in light. From the darkness of a Cathedral’s nave, a carefully crafted window, telling the good news that the light has come, assaults the senses. There is no need of grammar and syntax for this exposition of Scripture to lodge and transform our spirits.
I wonder if for you on this midsummer day, a shaft of light would be welcome? What the mediaeval mystics referred to as “the dark night of the soul” comes in many contemporary forms. The Light of God truly is a remedy, not quick, not simple, not easy, but a remedy nonetheless. Let me pray for you.
Lord, for those who seek the light today, who live in a dark place and find it not congenial or welcoming, we ask for your light to dawn. In Jesus’ name, Amen.