Having celebrated the life of St Francis in our last Messy Church in October, November sees us once again looking to the life of a saint when it comes to our getting Messy in the hall here in Burnopfield for our monthly family service of craft, singing and fun. And this month this saint is one that has a name very close to my heart – Saint Lucy.
Lucy, like many other saints, is one who we know very little about with any certainty, but there are a few things that have been suggested about her over the years that the church has recalled the actions of this remarkable young woman. Born in Syracuse in Sicily and living around the beginning of the fourth century, Lucy would have found herself under the rule of the Roman Empire. Being a Christian, she was appalled at the desire of the Roman authorities to reinvigorate worship for their pagan gods, and in particular the emperor himself, and refused to partake in such acts. But it was through her great kindness, something that she saw as at the very root of her faith, that she finally came to the attention of the authorities. Having given away all her possessions to the poor, her annoyed fiancé, who was so put out by this wasting of what he felt was his money, turned her in to the Romans, and she was eventually put to death for refusing to renounce her faith in Jesus in the year 304.
In Latin, Lucy’s name means light, and with her life being celebrated in December during the season of Advent, (we have pushed her earlier in the year because of having Messy Christmas in December), this has seen her feast day very much being associated with light shining in the darkness and the redeemer that we remember coming into the world at Christmas time, Jesus the light of the world. Lucy is then, like all of the saints, are a true example of simple faith and love shining out in a world that needed it so much at the time that she lived. And for me and many others I would suggest, this is a world that we would say still needs such faith and love shining into it to this very day.
There are undeniably many wonderful things in our world, family and friends to live alongside and love, a world to enjoy and give thanks for no doubt, but it is also true that there is much in the world that is dark, much in our world that could do with a bit of light – and the kind of light that Lucy and others provided; kindness and love for those around them. Love that combats such darkness as anger and hatred, greed and poverty, that alas are so prevalent still in our world.
But Saint Lucy herself is, of course, no longer around to offer the light of her faith to the world, she is no longer able to shine into these things and places and help cure them for us today. But that those of us who like her, call ourselves Christians are called to do so, is highlighted very clearly in words said in a baptism service to the newly baptised, and indeed in a confirmation service, as we heard recently for our those who were confirmed within our Deanery at St Andrew’s Church in Stanley last month. For as these followers of Jesus, and indeed all of us when we were baptised and confirmed hear as we are handed a candle, being a light in the world as Saint Lucy was is very much a part of being Christian – for as we receive these candles we hear and say these words:
God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light. You have the light of Christ: walk in this light all the days of your life.
Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.
Saint Lucy and others have shone in this way through their love and kindness for the world. The simple truth is that for all of us, all of us who have followed Lucy and others in having faith in Jesus, to be this light in the world is still our job today.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze