Flickers of Light

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)


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6 Responses to Flickers of Light

  1. That’s very beautiful. Yes, God is an ecstatic poet, a lover of Light. And humans are actually capable when holy of shining, actually shining, very very brightly like the sun or brighter. It is the sign of their original estate of in-dwelling with God.

  2. Susan says:

    Thank You So Much for Sharing!!

  3. And yet, it is the Light of people we never see, grotesquely reduced, dreadfully rendered opaque, which to me is most beautiful: Darren who is Black, who died tortured to death by guards in a Florida prison for no wrong, another who is White, and retarded, and homeless, beaten to death by rogue policemen. The uncreated Light of mercy and love looks dark to those who have no understanding.

  4. Margaret Easter says:

    I too thank you for sharing. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers in recent weeks, and learning how Gene has been dealing with the challenge offers tools for strengthening our own faith.

  5. Jo says:

    I printed out this letter when I first read it — the learnings indeed help point the way to the Light.

  6. Peter says:

    Eugene’s letter is a pearl of great worth. My mother was addicted to alcohol. I only wish there had been someone as understanding and insightful as Rev. Sutton to guide me and my mother on the occasions when we both needed the compassion expressed in Rev. Sutton’s letter. Sonya, thanks for sharing.

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