St James' Church: Light at Haslingden

St James’ Parish Church in Haslingden in the borough of Rosendale has always struck me as rather grim, peering down the valley from its high hill, its stones blackened with industrial grime. Although I called in August, the day was chilly, and the grey clouds complimented the building’s forbidding exterior. Furthermore, as parish churches are wont to accrue, gravestones were everywhere, countless reminders of human mortality, and the pain which accompanies. Although some were quite old and had historical interest, there was little there to offer cheer. Until I saw the gate, that is.

Situated so high upon a hill, a heavy stone staircase connects the church to the busy road, below. Although the gates are locked, which was another reason for my rather morose mood, some uplifting paintwork had been applied to them. In stark contrast to the gloomy building and heavy grey funerary monuments, the gates were painted blue with bright yellow and red around the reference

John 8:12

The New King James Version renders it thus:

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

I was uplifted. Despite the day’s spirit of glumness, the words of the Lord Jesus shone, breaking through the darkness and lighting the soul. Truly, His words illuminate, brighten and radiate, even when the night is dark and the stones are black.

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light; 
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2