5th July 2023

The light of the world painting by Holman Hunt

I recently had occasion to call on the services of a locksmith. I was having difficulty closing and locking a door. Although my problem was with shutting a door, not opening it, this incident put me in mind of the well-known painting by the 19th century artist, William Holman Hunt, entitled “The Light of the World”. It was inspired by the words of Revelation, 3: 20: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter…”. The painting depicts Christ holding a lantern and standing outside a very solid wooden door and it is obvious that there is no handle (or lock!) on the outside, so Christ can only enter if whoever the door belongs to opens it from the inside.

We may remember when we invited Christ through the door of our lives. It may have been the conclusion of a long process, or something more “out of the blue”. But, surely, this text, and the painting, have a wider meaning. Inviting Christ into our lives is not just a one-off event, but something we are invited to do repeatedly as we face different situations, be they crises or routine, be they joyful or sad. Doors usually have a key, and the key to this door is prayer. So, don’t lose the key, but, if you do there are people around, especially within the church, who will help you find it again – spiritual locksmiths, perhaps!

David T Roberts