Recently, Helen and myself went to the lake district for our holiday. We stayed in Barrow-in-Furness but we travelled around to various locations during our time there. This picture is what you see when approaching a town called Ulverston, just a few miles away from Barrow.
It's known by the locals as the Hoad Hill monument, officially its the John Barrow monument, but I affectionately called it the "pepper pot". Ulverston is famous for being the birthplace of one half of one of my favourite comedy duo's of all time, Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel.
This "pepper pot", was built on top of Hoad Hill overlooking Ulverston and Morecambe Bay. It was modelled on the Eddystone Lighthouse and in the basement there is a room for the lighthouse keeper.
We saw this everyday because we always had to return to our base in Barrow-in-Furness via Ulverston. This sight would fill me with great joy because it meant I could turn off the main road and follow the coast road into Barrow, which was beautiful in itself, but more importantly it meant I had to drive past (or rather stop outside) our favourite ice cream parlour in Bardsea because the coast road ran through Bardsea.
But everyday we would see this "pepper pot". The Lord kept asking me "are you a lighthouse or a monument?". Everyday the same question. Drove me saft.
I discovered that one thing was missing from this "pepper pot". You see, this lighthouse never actually had a light. Now I understood the question. A lighthouse fails to be a lighthouse if it doesn't have a light.
The Lord began to talk to me every day through this "pepper pot", He said "son a lighthouse without a light is not a lighthouse at all, but is merely a monument." He began to remind me of scriptures I knew very well, in particular,
Matthew 5:16 "in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven".
Obvious, I know but he reminded me that if my light doesn't shine then I am not actually fit for purpose,as I am called to shine and not be a monument. He reminded me that He is the lighthouse keeper, but I have to shine. The lighthouse keeper would maintain the lighthouse structurally, and would take special care to ensure that the lighthouse fulfilled its primary function. He would change any bulbs that had blown, and polish the glass to ensure the light would shine brighter at its ultimate power and clarity.
1 John 1:5 "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".
It reminded me that we are to shine in times of great darkness and not retreat. A lighthouse without a light is only a monument in reality. It may look like a lighthouse but doesn't function like one. If our light doesn't shine, we can still be seen, we can still be admired, we can still be prominent, but if we shine the light, his light that's what stands out and gets noticed in the dark.
What good would it be having a lighthouse shining away in Broad daylight? The time to shine is when all around is pitch black and dark.
Again Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put in a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to the whole house. In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven "
How do people see you and me? How do people see Flame Church?. A monument,a testimony to the past, with a history?, Or a lighthouse shining the light of Christ in darkest times?
The choice is ours. God bless