Light Party, the week after | Mark van den Steenhoven

Light Party, the week after

Last week Jacolien wrote a blog about our plans to organise a Light Party on Halloween. Today I want to share our missional community’s reflections as we look back on what was a really special evening for us. You can also read some of the comments people made who received Heavenly blessings.

The idea was to be a house of light; a welcoming home for our neighbours. And to be a blessing to children and their parents. We want to be people who always bring Life and Halloween is not an exception.

Our first goal: Making our home a house of light was easy. We decorated our drive and garden with all the fairy lights, candles and light ropes owned by our entire missional community. Then we opened every curtain and switched on every light in the house. Boom!  A Light House. Sorted!

Then for our aim to be welcoming. This was a little more challenging. We made a sign saying, “Everyone is welcome to the house of heavenly treats”  and we took our couch outside to create a homely atmosphere. Yes it was cold but it was home.

Then for our second Goal; To actually be welcoming. In addition to our all weathers sofa we realised we needed to speak to people! Obviously it was a question of finding the right words.You look beautiful tonight, is not really suitable for Halloween : )
What I noticed was that by far the most important element to being welcoming was paying personal attention to children and their parents. Asking them their names and congratulating them on all their effort and creativity was a starting point.

And then to our third goal. To be a blessing. This was really very important for us. Of course we had borrowed the photo booth and had a treasure chest full of chocolate bars, but we wanted something more spiritual. So, on our missional community night we sat round the kitchen table and prayed and listened to God. We asked for the right words to encourage and bless each child, knowing that He could get the right word to the right person. Words of God have power, and shine light in the darkest places. We wrote the words God gave us on cards, and hung them on a line by the light rope. The children passed under these blessing cards on the way to the treasure chest to collect their treats. Then they could turn round and reach up to receive a heavenly blessing (nice picture isn't it?).
All kids and adults really wanted a blessing card. They eagerly read them and shared what they said. It was great to hear them speak out what God had said to them.

A few reactions from our visitors
"We heard about your Light Party at the pub around the corner.”
"This is the coolest house!”
“This is the best house!”
"Your light party was just a beautiful beacon of love and sanctuary from all the ghosts and ghouls! I was so impressed with your warm welcoming hospitality that you showed the community, what a great blessing you are in Sheffield”
"Thanks for praying for my knee"
"This blessing is amazing . I really need it.”, said a mother who accompanied her child and really wanted a blessing card. The text on her card read: "Jesus is with you when you go to school”. Apparently, she wants to go to the school for photography!
Another mother thanked us that we had prayed her daughter who had become frightened as she walked around the dark streets.
Another lady said to her friend, “These  guys are the christians, we came last year. They like to do something different”.

Looking back we can say that we succeeded in our plans. Although we hope to see these people again in the near future because the Light Party isn't a goal in itself. We want people to come to know Jesus and become his followers. This is a (small) step along the way.

A few comments from our Missional Community
- I was surprised to see how open kids were to be prayed for and how pleased their parents were to see them getting the blessings.
- I’ve realised it doesn't matter whether you know people or not.
- I was surprised how long people stayed.
- Its much easer to do this than I thought. Its easy when you do it together.
- Its easy to be a blessing for people
- If we want to get to know the people and to meet them again we need to prepared to write down their names next time.
- It was really encouraging to see that the technical problem we had with the photo camera was solved after prayers . ( to start with it inexplicably just would not work).
- God did what we asked for, he did give the right words to the right people … even the lady who got the word “Jesus goes to school with you”!

Last Saturday I noticed again that people are open to receive a blessing and prayer. I asked myself why don't we do this more often? If we receive so many positive reactions, why don't we give people more often a blessing or encouragement? It reminds me of an assignment that we Christians have: to be a blessing for the people around us!

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