24th May 2023

The light of understanding

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESVUK)

The world is awash with different answers and beliefs to ‘eternity in our hearts’; this internal awareness that there must be something more to life than birth, life, death and then nothing more. My internet search informs me that there are over 4,000 recognized religions in the world. Just to name a handful, there’s Animism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Paganism and, for some, the answer to deal with this bothersome itch about eternity is to espouse Atheism. But, of course, for many, the Christian faith is the answer.

Solomon goes on to say that we cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end, or as the God’s Word translation puts it: ‘in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does’. It takes Paul, centuries later, to explain to the Corinthians what we need to comprehend what God has been doing: God’s Spirit. The Spirit, he writes, searches everything, especially the deep things of God. And that is how ‘we could know the things which God has freely given us.’  

Going back to this sense of eternity, if we picture it as an unlit but beautiful candle in our hearts, or as an oil lamp that has no oil sitting solidly in the centre of our minds, then the Holy Spirit comes and lights the candle or puts oil in the lamp, so the light of God comes into our hearts. Understanding floods our minds.

That’s what we see at Pentecost: as the crowds listened to Peter’s sermon, the Holy Spirit lit up their souls and spirits, bringing them the gift of repentance, so that they ‘…were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” ’ Just in that one day three thousand accepted Peter’s answer, turned to God, were baptized and became part of the fledgling church.

Our thanks to you, our great Triune God, for you who said “Let light shine out of darkness”, has made your light to shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Amen.                        

Study by Hilary Buck

About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:00 am 

Local congregational contact:
Hilary Buck
Email:  lewes@gracecom.church

Like us on www.facebook.com/Grace Communion Lewes 

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