St Mary Magdalene, Richmond Upon Thames

The Church of St Mary Magdalene at Richmond Upon Thames has arguably the best church address in the world:

St Mary Magdalene, Paradise Road, Richmond TW9 1SN

Whether its congregation is on the road to paradise, time will tell. It is a light, airy building, but for its dark wooden ceiling, which Pevsner thought inappropriate, and to which I am inclined to agree. A light, plastered ceiling reflects light back down, and would be in better keeping with the painted plaster of the rest of the building. A dark ceiling absorbs light, giving little back.

This is the purpose of the church, the gathered community of God’s redeemed people. Having received God’s light, we reflect it back to those on the outside, still fumbling in ungodly darkness. When churches merely absorb light and fail to pass it on, or when they become so dark they have nothing to reflect, the wider world grows dull. One of the reaons I think Great Britain is in so poor a state is because the twentieth-century churches imbibed cold liberalism, rejecting truth and failing to shine light where it was most needed. They are now dying out, and so too the people among whom they had been placed. The Lord Jesus observes in Matthew 6:23:

"But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (NKJV)

“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles." Isaiah 42:6, NKJV.