Spiritual Development 2017-18 Annual Theme

Illuminate

Theme Verse: Ephesians 1:16-19

I do not cease to give thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you
the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,
according to the working of his great might.

There are few symbols as fundamental to life, as aesthetically compelling and as theologically rich as light. In the Scriptures, light is pervasive. Light is the first thing created (Gen. 1:3-4) and the last great image of God himself: “They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light” (Rev. 22:5). The Messiah is the “great light” coming into the world (Is. 9:2). Jesus connects this prophecy to himself, (Mt. 4:15-16), who is the “light of the world.” (Luke 2:32). It is the symbol of life and salvation (Ps. 27:1).

Light is a symbol of goodness. Christians are called to walk as children of light and of goodness (Eph. 5:8-9), and to shine as lights to the world (Phil. 2:15). However, light also exposes. This means humbly allowing the light to expose our own sin or hypocrisy (I Jn. 1:5ff), ultimately disclosing the hidden purposes of all human hearts (relieving us of such judgments which are only God’s to make; 1 Cor 4:5).

Light is the symbol of truth, wisdom and understanding. The Psalmist writes, “the unfolding of your words gives light;/ it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130; Eccl. 2:13; Daniel 5:14 ). In the founding of universities, it became an apt symbol for higher learning, emblazoned in the mottos of many. In the Scriptures, the glory of God is its own light, and the two words are linked together throughout Scripture: “for the glory of God gives it [the new Jerusalem] light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

This year in chapel, our theme is “Illuminate”: which is really a prayer, “Illuminate us.” It is drawn from Paul’s prayer for the churches in Ephesus, that with “enlightened” hearts, they would receive from God “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.” (1:17-18). What we seek is what Paul prays for here: a clearer, deeper, wiser and increasingly compelling knowledge of God, through the Holy Spirit, that is a kind of sight—an illumination. Such a vision renews hope and cultivates wisdom as we see afresh his goodness and power to bring His redeeming light to the world. Paul’s prayer calls us as his “beloved” to live as children of light for the sake of others, and above all, to let this light shine forth (“glorify”) God’s love, goodness and power “to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10).