From the Interim Rector - January 8, 2021
I confess I’m starting to feel like a broken record. Many of you may be feeling the same – especially if you have been “in church” the last couple of weeks and heard my sermons. However the events of Wednesday, January 6th, on the Feast of the Epiphany, took me instantly back to John’s Gospel: “Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.” To see this truth played out on the news yesterday as the President of the United States incited violence at our nation’s Capital, resulting in the death of four people—one, a woman shot by Capital Police—makes John’s words even more pertinent in our day. And, it reinforces our calling to be Light in the midst of all that is not light, all that is not right, and all that is not of God.
From now until Ash Wednesday on February 17th we are in what is traditionally called Epiphany-tide. The recurring theme of this season of the Church’s year is that not only has Light come into the world, but as evidenced by the Magi’s presence at the Nativity, that Light extends to all people regardless of their faith tradition, ethnicity, race, nation of origin or any other category that we so readily segregate people into. The Light of Christ is for all people. The Light of Christ that fills us and shines forth from us is for all people. What we witnessed at the Capital was not Light. And, what saddens me even more is that I have no doubt that many of the people engaged in that violent attempt to overturn an election believe themselves to be Christians. Perhaps they are. Only God knows. What I know is that in that moment they were not Light. In that moment of hatred and violence they were not fulfilling the Gospel of Jesus Christ but the destructive willfulness of one man who grows more desperate with each passing day to hold onto his delusion that he is the most powerful man in the world.
So here is the last of my broken record reflections. You and I are called to be Light in the darkness. Each of us will be called to let that Light shine as a city set on a hill in a myriad of ways. Some of those ways may be as invisible to others as a compassionate word to someone who needs to hear that there is still a bit of grace and kindness in the world. Or, perhaps it will be to take a very public and vocal stand that says, as the banner outside our church says: “Black Lives Matter.” However God calls you to let the Light of Christ shine forth I urge you to “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine” as the old song says. For the Light of Christ has but one purpose; to dispel the darkness of violence, exploitation, hatred and even death. The newly elected Senator from Georgia, the Reverend Raphael Warnock in quoting his predecessor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, wrote in response to the violence we witnessed this week; "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." And in his own words, as quoted in the NYTimes, "Let each of us try to be a light to see our country out of this dark moment."
May your Light and the Light of the Church of the Epiphany continue to dispel the darkness about us and help heal a nation.