It was such an amazing experience to get out of a mini bus into the drizzling rain on a dark November night and see the Blackpool illuminations hanging as beautiful diamond necklaces and jewelled crowns outside the Tower Ballroom. The anticipation was high as a crowd of two thousand slowly made its way up the steps and into the big auditorium.
The name of the Archbishop of York’s Mission to Blackpool was ‘Light in darkness’ and there had been a torchlight procession through the streets led by Christians from various churches and denominations. The great electronic organ on the stage played the tune of ‘O I do like to be beside the seaside’ but instead we sang different words, ‘Oh we praise God in many sounds of music’.
November is not only physically dark, but Halloween comes just before it, introducing spiritual darkness in the disguise of fun. On the 31st October I stuck a prayer on my door before I went out. It was a prayer for people to find out the truth of Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). At Ellel Grange we were busy teaching about the deliverance ministry of Jesus and celebrating the 28th birthday of the healing ministry there.
Just before the archbishop gave his testimony and evangelistic address we heard from a young woman who shared how her life had been put back together again from the horrible mess of rebellion, drug addiction, mental health problems and going to hospital after an overdose. She told us how she found Jesus was the light in her darkness showing her the way out. Bit by bit her life changed and she was healed, as she learnt to bring her wounds to Him. I love testimonies and I’ve heard many brilliant ones recently describing how people came out of the darkness of addictions of all kinds, and into God’s wonderful light.
The archbishop shared that Jesus brings a light to show us the amazing reality of the meaning of our lives. Jesus forgives our past, brings new life in the present and gives us hope for the future. In 55 years John Sentamu has never stopped commending Jesus to people. Even though he was put in prison he knew that Jesus is the God who became human, and then died for us, and that, once we put our life in Him, He never abandons us.
‘Light in my darkness, Peace for my soul.
You are my rescue. You`ve never let go
All my hope is in You. All my strength is in You.
With every breath, my soul will rest in You.
Here in my weakness, always the same.
Your love is my shelter. Your life is my way.
Constant Saviour, friend forever, Lord You have my heart.
Sure foundation, never failing. Lord, You have my heart’.
Jason Ingram , Reuben Morgan (Hillsong).
Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, we pray for the light of Jesus to shine so brightly that the darkness will have to flee. We pray particularly for those who are trapped by all kinds of addictions to find the way out of the spiritual darkness of their lives through giving their lives to Jesus and trusting Him. Amen.
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