The United Nations has declared 2015 an “International Year of Light” (U.N. Year of Light). Several pieces sung during January and February by the choirs of St. Alban’s have texts that center on themes of light. Coincidence?
We are now in the middle of the season after the Epiphany, a part of our liturgical year that celebrates light –beginning with starlight and kings bowing before an infant. Seasonally, of course, we are experiencing the return of light with longer days. During the liturgical season of Epiphany our lectionary has congregations hearing about the miracles Jesus caused during his ministry. They seem spectacular and it’s easy to forget that we are also capable of miracles. We don’t hear it in this particular lectionary cycle (Year B), but we were urged last year during Epiphany, and it remains true every day of every year that we should embrace the call (Matthew 5:14) to be the “light of the world.”
Sometimes light is flickering, slow-burning, glowing. It’s not always the flash of inspiration, judgment or understanding that we want or expect. An epiphany suggests that we have had a sudden opening of our minds with a new insight into that which we didn’t understand before, but maybe epiphanies can be slow awakenings of knowledge as well. With that in mind I want to share with you something my husband wrote in response to recent tragic events in the Diocese of Maryland, where he ministers. I think there is a great deal of wisdom expressed here, not just in response to a tragedy, but for the day to day things that are done or left undone. There are words here to help us all be a light in the world, if sometimes a flickering one.
Pastoral Letter, Diocese of Maryland (if nothing else, do read the poem at the end of the letter:“Trust in the slow work of God,” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)