I came into church recently to discover a light had been left on overnight. Oh dear! I quickly turned it off and thought no more about it.
During our usual church open afternoon that day a lady came in looked round the building and sat quietly for a long time.
After a while she asked me ‘Was something happening in Church last night?’ It turned out she lived opposite and, in the very hot evening, had sat out late at night on her balcony, overlooking the church.
She told me how the left-on light had illuminated a stained glass window . She had found it beautiful to simply sit and look at the church with the illuminated window in the stillness of the evening.
The peace and special moment she experienced led her to come across into the Church, to find out more and to enjoy the stillness and peace, to pray and later to join worship.
Churches can be very busy doing all kinds of things. Let’s not forget that their presence in the community, and the stillness and beauty they offer, can lead people to stillness and prayer. That is part of their being, their mission.
A friend earlier in the week remarked how his partner said to him, when he was busy, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ By being, by standing there, the church building offers a place of stillness and sanctuary to the community.
Perhaps we have a ministry in leaving a church light on some evenings?