I am told that between the months of September and March the Norwegian village of Rjukan enjoys no direct sunlight because the surrounding mountains are so high. For a long time, if residents wanted a glimpse of the sun there during those months it meant a cable car ride up to higher ground. Not very practical (though it could be good for the local economy, I suppose).
So the good residents of Rjukan borrowed an idea from Italy and installed three giant mirrors on the sides of the valley to track the sun’s movement during the day and reflect its light onto the village square. As people come and go they can now feel the sun’s warmth and see it lighting up their surroundings.
There are some pretty dark and impenetrable places in the world, in our communities and – let’s be honest – even sometimes in our individual lives. It seems that no sun has shone there for years and hope, purpose, joy and fulfilment have long since withered away – if they were ever there in the first place.
“I am the light of the world” Jesus once said. Yet on another occasion he told those who were around him “You are the light of the world”. How does that work? Can both be true? Surely, they can if we take on board the rest of what he said: “Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” By opening ourselves to the light of Jesus we can become like the mirrors on the Norwegian hillside and make the world about us a place where that light is no longer blocked out but available to all, and especially those who might otherwise never experience it.
As our response to Christ’s call to follow him, what will we do to make sure the sunlight of God’s love and truth can be enjoyed by our fellow-members of the human family? I pray that more and more of us will let the light of Christ fall on us, so that we can be good reflectors and send some of that darkness packing.