March 2016

This month’s article comes from Michael Cooper, member of Coxheath church and National Director of Christian Vision for Men.

To celebrate my wife’s ‘significant’ birthday I decided to book us a short break in Iceland (not the one endorsed by Peter Andre). This was a desolate stony expanse of God’s world, haunted by howling winds, bubbling geysers and fiery eruptions – I sure know how to treat a lady! Catherine had always wanted to see the Northern Lights, one of those ‘Bucket List’ things, so I figured this would be the ideal present.

The planning was meticulous; children packed off to family for the weekend, cold weather gear filled our suitcases and the vital Icelandic phrase learnt: “Við viljum stórt glas af Sauvignon Blanc og jafnvel stærri glas af bjór vinsamlegast” – you could look it up, but I’m guessing you won’t need to!

We’d hired a car and booked a cracking little self-catering apartment, so everything was set for five days of exploring by day and at night, chasing that elusive light show we hoped to see. The days were filled with some of the most spectacular scenes we’d ever encountered. Despite, on the face of things, an inhospitable land outside of the main city Reykjavik, it was heartening to discover places and stories of men and women thriving alongside some of the most challenging features of God’s creation. Each afternoon we would check the Aurora Borealis app to determine the best location and time to see the magnificent display, and would plan our evening accordingly.

How much effort do we put into seeking the one true light of the world, fully available every day (and night)? “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5. Christ, creator of life, is that light of the world. When we follow in His light we can avoid walking blindly and messing up. He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. Of all the lights we can seek, allowing Christ’s to shine in our lives is the perfect guide we need to stop us from stumbling.

On the third evening, and after much searching, we were blessed with flickering green lights over a crystal clear ocean. The show wasn’t as spectacular as it might’ve been, but great reward for patience and still sufficiently stunning to render us in awe of God’s amazing creation. On the plane coming home Catherine shared with me another ‘bucket list’ ambition. It turns out she’d really like to hand milk a cow – if only she’d mentioned that sooner!