AM Psalm 46, 97 ; PM Psalm 96, 100
Isa. 49:1-7; Rev. 21:22-27; Matt. 12:14-21
Today is the Epiphany. The Christmas season has ended. But the Light of God has not. In fact the light is only beginning to shine. And that is what Epiphany celebrates – the light shining and spreading into the world. This time in the church is often a time of focus on the miracles, and passages in which we see the depth of God’s light to our world.
I don’t have to tell you what a trying time this has been for the Church. COVID-19 has stretched and stressed some of our churches to the brink. And yet others have managed to discover new ways of “being church”. They have found God’s grace despite the enormous challenges.
Just today I was helping one minister pave the way for a virtual Ordination and Installation service. Another was looking to have a congregational meeting virtually and needed to bounce some ideas off me.
But those are small examples of God’s light breaking in when compared to the enormous opportunities God has given us. I am talking about opportunities to BE THE BODY OF CHRIST in new and exciting ways.
It hasn’t been easy. From navigating pastoral care challenges, to congregants dying of the coronavirus, from stewardship challenges, to strained relationships, our prayer for the better part of this last year has been GOD, SHOW US THE WAY.
It has been a humbling time in ministry. Most days I do not know the way.
This has felt like a dark time for many. Our prayers have often been to make it past these difficult days, and get back “to normal.” I am not sure I even know what normal is anymore. Nor should I. I believe God is doing a new thing with us, and for us. Our job is not to turn back, but to look forward into the light.
As we seek that Light, we need to embrace our new reality for the opportunities it presents – for ways that the church can flourish, despite challenges. This has been our story for over 2000 years. It has not changed.
In our passage from Revelation, God’s story of salvation spills out as a story of Light. The new Jerusalem is declared and “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its Light.” We learn that this city’s gates will never be shut and “there will be no night there.”
Friends, this is our reality now! As people whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, we need not fear the night. Nor do we live in the dark. We live in the Light, and all of these curve balls and challenges of this last year are opportunities to discover new ways of BEING LIGHT and SHARING LIGHT.
God is doing a new thing among us. And God’s glory will continue to shine. Let’s embrace the Light together.