12th June 2014

Me And My Shadow 

“…they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
Acts 5:15–16 (NKJV)

Last summer, when the sun was shining, my 2 year old granddaughter became fascinated by her shadow. For a few weeks we played little games with my shadow chasing or covering her shadow. We also jumped in and out of shadows caused by buildings or trees. It was silly really but for a few weeks it fascinated her, and that’s what grandparents are for, isn’t it, to play silly games sometimes. 

But it got me thinking about my spiritual shadow. We read in Acts above that Peter’s shadow could even heal people. How amazing that must have been for him and the people alive at that time. 

Our shadow today is not likely to heal people but what impression do we leave as we pass through people’s lives? Is our shadow a positive, uplifting one in the eyes of other people? Do people feel warmth and encouragement in our shadow? Or is our shadow a dark and gloomy one, weighed down by the troubles of this life? As ambassadors for Christ, (2 Corinthians 5.20) we should be reflecting a positive image of God’s kingdom. As lights ( Matthew 5.14 -16) we should be casting a shadow that reflects glory on our God and his kingdom. 

But we live in a pressured world where it can be hard to remember we are ambassadors and lights. As the saying goes, “ When you are up to your backside in crocodiles, it’s difficult to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp.” Yet whatever the pressures and problems we face, there should be something about us that tells people we are different. We are not the light, Jesus Christ is, but in our shadow should be the reflection of that light, even if it is not always a very bright one. As humans we will never be a perfect reflection and our reflected light will sometimes be bright and sometimes dim. But it will always be there for other people to see. 

We will never know, in this life, just how God may use our shadow to reach, encourage and support others. We are to grow in faith, understanding and knowledge so the light is reflected more strongly, and more often, in the way we relate to and interact with other people. 

As part of the witness and growth of the early church the apostles had the ability to heal people in a miraculous way that attracted attention. God still heals today spiritually, emotionally and sometimes physically too. But even without miraculous healings we should be casting an attractive shadow that draws people to Christ. 

Perhaps when Christ returns and all humanity is given the opportunity to know and relate to God, people will remember contact with our shadow and the way we reflected the light that will help them to be open and receptive to God. 

My granddaughter has grown out of being fascinated by shadows now and there are other silly games we play. But her simple joy and amazement at shadows made me think about what kind of shadow I cast in life. How about you? 

God, light of this world, help us to reflect you in a positive way as we relate to other people and let our shadow in their lives be an encouraging one which, in time, leads them to focus on the source of the light and not us.

Study by Keith Hartrick


keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, a Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone:  01484-312347
Email: malcolm.john.arnold@ntlworld.com

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