In Report No. 98 a teacher told of an experience on an evening in 1949 when she was alone in a remote school house of a small village in the woods.
"It was such a strange evening; full moon and a violent gale." The woman was used to being alone and was not afraid. She sat down at the harmonium and played and sang Thomas Kingo's choral 'Sadness and joy, they travel together'.
"Suddenly it seemed I heard a knock at the house door downstairs. Maybe someone of the neighborhood felt compassion for me. I went down to open, but nobody was there."
During this strange weather, the woman went to the window and saw the clouds racing across the sky. At that she thought of a poem by Hjalmar Gullberg:
I dream I hear someone knocking
Softly on the door.
I run downstairs.
How did You come here?
What kind of time is this?
What happens to the room I live in?
Does Your path of suffering
Across the marketplace through the side streets?
"When I had spoken the poem Somebody came into the my room. Instantly I knew who He was. I sank to my knees at the window and did not dare to turn around and look at Him. From Him streamed such light and such peace! They were beyond all reason. I felt distinctly His hand touching me when He bent down to take a burden away from me, the burden that I was not good enough to be His instrument. How long I spent on my knees at the window sill I don't know."
When she finally stood up and opened her eyes the moon shown into the empty room and filled it with clear light (she had just moved in and had not furnished her rooms yet). On the wall she saw a black cross, the shadow of the window frame.
"But outside the window this cross changed into another cross that was bright and reached up to the sky. His voice explained to me the mystery of the cross. I did not hear a voice, but in a way full of wonder the meaning of the cross became clear to me. The theme of sacrifice had been so difficult to comprehend for me. But now, I believe, I understood at once the meaning of Christ's deed of sacrifice and it's meaning for every human being. A powerfully great perspective opened up. I saw the cross between heaven and earth like an axle around which everything turns, the innermost mystery of creation, the Divine Love...
excerpt from the book, "We Experienced Christ; Spiritual Encounters with Jesus Christ." by Temple Lodge published English 2016.
William Holman Hunt painting Light of the World
Crowds of people once flocked to see this picture of Christ. It even went on a world tour. One viewer said, “the vast crowd stood gazing in silent wonderment, and many in adoration, as though held by some irresistible magnet.”
Painted by Holman Hunt in the 19th century, it is one of the most famous images of Jesus, reproduced countless times.
Jesus, crowned with thorns and carrying a lantern, stands outside at night, knocking on a closed door that is covered with weeds. Holman Hunt’s famous painting is full of symbolism, but the main idea, of Jesus knocking on a door, is taken straight from a passage in the book of Revelation…
“Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together” (Revelation 3:20).
Holman Hunt later explained the meaning of the painting’s symbolism: “The closed door was the obstinately shut mind; the weeds the cumber of daily neglect, the accumulated hindrance of sloth; the bat flitting about only in darkness was a natural symbol of ignorance…” The lantern Jesus carries (click here to see the full-length image) refers to Jesus’s description of himself as “the light of the world”, which is the title of the painting.
The picture was so important to Holman Hunt that he painted it three times, at different points in his life, and said that working on it the first time had made him become a Christian. The final version below.
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how,
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92)