Last year, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, over 3000 beacons were lit in various parts of the world. Thousands of beacons were lit by communities, charities and different groups throughout the regions of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. Some of the beacons were gas-lit beacons; some were beacon braziers with a metal shield and some were bonfire beacons, all lit on the evening of 2nd June 2022. The light of the beacons can be seen from one place and then another beacon is lit, so the light is spread, bringing hope and spreading the message through light. This is a powerful symbol of what God wants to do through His Holy Spirit, spreading the light of the gospel throughout the whole world one person at a time, one church at a time.

There is a scene from the film The Return of the King, based on the final part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy when, at the moment when darkness seems to be at its greatest, a hobbit, Pippin, climbs a mountain peak and lights a beacon. As a chain of lights spreads across the hills summoning help from Aragorn, Gandalf the wizard breathes a sigh of relief and declares: “Hope is kindled.”

God’s Holy Spirit was poured out on believers on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2); we need His Holy Spirit now just as much. Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18). This is not a one-off filling, but an ongoing filling. Similarly, he tells Timothy to ‘fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.’ (2 Tim 1:6) The flame is there in every person who has given their lives to Jesus, for the Holy Spirit comes to live in us at the moment we become a Christian. But fire can go out, and so we need to learn to fan into flame the gift of God.

Barriers to this include complacency, a reliance on the past (God wants us to be filled daily, just as the Israelites had to collect manna daily and we are urged to pray for our daily bread) and fear (fear of losing control, of losing our reputation, of being laughed at.) God wants us to fear Him above all others and to seek Him for the good gift of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:11-13) When we do this, He lights beacons of hope in each of our lives, light which will spread throughout the country as God works through us.