On a recent visit to Ireland, our friends took us to see an interesting old, medieval lighthouse. It was the monks from Tintern Abbey who kept the beacon light burning on Hook Lighthouse to warn ships where the rocks were and guide them safely to the harbour. They had a little chapel in the lighthouse, where I’m sure they prayed for those at sea to be safe during the storms.
Tintern abbey was built because a knight called William Marshal had come to Ireland for the first time to see some land which he had inherited. There was a storm and he nearly died at sea. He prayed to God and promised, if his life was spared, he would build a monastery wherever he landed on the shore. So, when he got safely ashore, he was faithful to his promise and had the abbey built. He sent over some monks from Tintern Abbey in Wales, which he was the patron of, and they ran it, and gave it the same name.
The lighthouse has remained, now operating automatically, for over 800 hundred years, providing a sure and certain guide for ships to find their bearings. Its flashing light has a certain timed sequence that is unique and unmistakeable at night, and, by day, its unique pattern of bands of black painted on a white background is a visual aid to those at sea. They are reassured when they catch sight of it. Sadly, we found the site of the old chapel was locked up and now just had a mounted photograph across the doorway.
The light which has come into the world is Jesus. He remains ever the same, although our society changes its ideas and believes it can do well enough without a guiding light to show the right way home to harbour. There are still dangerous rocks out there in the darkness which can cause us to be shipwrecked and perish.
I believe that, like the monks of Tintern Abbey, Jesus wants us to be keepers of His light, tending it and making sure it burns brightly and clearly in the darkness.
In my wrestling and in my doubts, in my failures You won't walk out. Your great love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea …
In the silence, You won't let go. In the questions, Your truth will hold. Your great love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea …
My lighthouse, my lighthouse, shining in the darkness. I will follow You.
My lighthouse, my lighthouse, I will trust the promise.
You will carry me safe to shore …
I won't fear what tomorrow brings. With each morning I'll rise and sing.
My God's love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea … (Rend Collective)
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You are the light of the world and that You are my lighthouse. Please help me to shine Your light clearly to point the way of salvation to those who are lost in the darkness and stormy seas. May they find the way through the rocks to the safe harbour You have for them. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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