A light, the light or the only light?

The Presentation: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout 17th century, Dutch.

In a touching and moving scene in the Temple in Jerusalem the aged Simeon takes the infant Christ in his arms and proclaims him as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2.32) This is one of the lovely moments we celebrate at the Feast of Candlemas (usually February 2nd, or the Sunday nearest), indeed the naming of Jesus as a light connects with the light in darkness which candles so beautifully symbolise.

Simeon describes Christ as ‘a light’.

How do you see Christ?

Is Christ a light in a constellation of many inspiring and great lights. In this thinking Christ is a way to God, one pathway of many. The pathways lead to God and different peoples, different faiths, take different paths. The Christian pathway is lit by Jesus Christ.

Or is Christ the primary light, who shines divine light generously on all, the source of light. In this thinking Christ, existing before all time, casts the light of truth on others who show it and interpret this light to different degrees. The light of the whole world. The Christian way in this thought is the way which has the greatest focus of this divine light.

Or is Christ the only light? By this thought ways apart from Christ cannot lead to God, who is THE light, THE way. Christ, for those who hold this view, is the only way and other pathways cannot lead to God.

As with so many things there is undoubtedly a spectrum of belief about Jesus, and some may find the three different approaches here not sufficiently nuanced or explicit.

Whatever, as we consider our neighbours of differing faiths to ourselves, as we consider those who do not profess any faith yet may be wonderful and kind people, do we find Christ in them?

You are very welcome to contribute your thoughts on this by commenting below.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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