The light of the world is returning. Literally. Those of us who experience SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) are beginning to feel it. The wondrous, ever so intricate balance of the universe is shifting and more sunlight is returning to those of who live in the north. The moodiness and listlessness of SAD is beginning to lift.
When the spirit of Jesus, who refers to himself as the light of the world, begins to move more deeply into our lives, the inner darkness that all of us experience at some level, begins to lift. Take a few minutes today. Stop. Pray. Relish the sunlight. Bask in the love of God. In Jesus is life, and his life is the light of all people.
Have a blessed day,
The clouds stretch endlessly above us; we are enwrapped in a blanket of gray. Still, for Christians, this is the Season of Epiphany, a season of light. Gray, rainy days can remind us where the source of our light comes from. Sunshine is awesome! But Psalm 119:105 reminds us, “Your word is lamp to my feet and a light to may path.” Think of a verse from scripture that brings light into your life – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be filled.” “I am the way, the truth, the life.” “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”
Any brief passage of scripture that speaks to you will do. Let that phrase run through your mind today. When you face a difficulty or disappointment, when you feel peaceful and happy, when you feel anxious or sad, bring that “word from God” to the surface of your consciousness, repeat it a few times, think about it for 30 seconds. I believe you will see the light of epiphany shining even on gray days.
Grace and peace,
A Jewish Rabbi told his students, “Those who study Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) give light wherever they are.” There is nothing wrong with the study of Torah, even for Christians, after all Jesus surely spent many hours with Torah. Yet, as Christians, our Torah is the living God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When we spend time in focused prayer and meditation on God, the light of the holy and the divine will find a home in our lives. Christians throughout history and around the world will affirm this! I challenge you, spend five minutes a day in quiet prayer and meditation. I believe each one of us will “lighten up” within and become brighter presence among those with whom we live and move and have our being. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Grace and peace,
Good bright morning to all,
We read the story nearly every year. The Magi travel “from the East” and pay a surprise visit to Jerusalem, including Israel’s King Herod. Why? So they could see the baby who is destined from birth to become king of the Jews. “We saw his when it rose.” Their long trip enable them to not only see Jesus but give gifts to him. That star, those Magi, that journey are at the heart of Epiphany. Have you ever wondered what everyone else in the east, or in Jerusalem, or even Mary and Joseph (for crying out loud!) thought about that star? Did everyone else look at it, shrug their shoulders, and simply go on with their lives? Did anyone else even notice the star?
Brothers and sisters, God is as present to us today as that star was present to the Magi hundreds of generations ago. Some people are profoundly aware of that divine presence. I would hazard the guess that most people are not. I have experienced both the awareness and the blindness in my life. Sometimes my worries, ambitions, self-centeredness, arrogance, hurt, sadness, depression, etc…etc… blur my vision and shut the doors to my soul. The advice of the prophet Isaiah is worth following: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” (Is. 55:6) The words of Jesus’ first sermon come to mind: “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is near. Repent, and believe the good news.” (Mk. 1:15) Let the example of the Magi inspire us: They sought. They came. They found.
It is still cold, but a lovely day to behold. Bright sun. Blue sky. White snow (a symbol of God’s forgiveness, remember?). The last few days have been a bit rough. My epiphany reflection today is a request that we all give thanks for the little bright lights God has placed in our lives and community who make the rough days a little smoother. Let’s say a prayer of thanksgiving for school crossing guards, school bus drivers, the sanitation workers, the people who make our lives safer – (police, fire, EMS) – perhaps you can suggest others. And let’s not limit our thanksgiving to a prayer, if and when it is possible, give these people a verbal “thank you for your work!”
God’s richest blessings on all!
Epiphany literally means “to shine upon.” (We need some shining upon this morning! Sloppy driving, be careful.)
A Jewish philosopher named Emmanuel Levinas said “that the only thing that really converts people is an encounter with the face of the other.” That is the wonderful good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God was given a face and a heart. God became someone we could love. Theologians describe God as the Ground of all Being, the First Cause, a moral force, Higher Power, etc… All well and good. But most of us do not “fall in love” with an abstract idea. We fall in love with other people. In Jesus, God incarnate, God in-the-flesh, God became a person that “we could hear, see with our eyes, look at, and touch with our hands.” (I John 1:1) Thanks be to God for this epiphany!
Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
The snow is gently falling, white on white. I have heard that those who interpret dreams say falling snow is dream imagery for forgiveness. Nice. It is easy for me to be caught again and again in the trap of my own guilt and self-recrimination. Sometimes the hurt I have caused God, others, and myself feels like a permanent burden, a dis-ease I cannot be rid of. Do you hear me? Or, as my son and his peers say, “I feel ya.” Perhaps we can see the falling snow as God’s way of saying, “I am burying your transgressions, the darkest of your sin, in the pure whiteness of my understanding, my mercy, my forgiveness, my love.” Take a minute, let that sink in. Don’t shovel that snow away! May it melt into your hearts. May it bring you peace.
I close with the mantra for these days – “Stay safe and warm.” God bless.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus, who is the light of the world.? Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” These words incite a rebellious reaction in me. “What do you mean I can do nothing? On my own I will…be…just…fine!” Wrong. On my own, my faith will dry up and I will become an ineffective, unfruitful, useless (?) child of God. Being a disciple means that every day we let go of ourselves and cling to Jesus. Every day we learn a bit more about clinging to the love, peace, righteousness, and justice of Jesus. Then we will bear much fruit.
Good and gracious God,
Grant us a glimpse of your glory.
Deliver us from the darkness of night,
Give us a share with our sisters and brothers in light,
That we may live to your glory.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
God bless each and every one of you good people, (and be careful out there these next few days!)
Cape Breton is on the northeast coast of Nova Scotia. The ocean is that part of the world is vast and cold. Here is the Prayer of a Breton Fisherman:
Dear God, be good to me;
The sea is so wide, and my boat is so small.
We do not have to be a fisherman from Cape Breton to feel the unimaginable vastness of creation. And who are we…who is little old me…where is my place in this immense cosmos?
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, he who formed you:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
You matter to God. You belong to God and you belong right where you are. Let your light shine!
Has anyone checked out the Epiphany discipline found at: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/today/2018/01/05/barn-boots-blessings-2/
Heather got us started for the two of us and Desmond – every evening before dinner. It’s worth doing, with the entire family. Peace.
Good morning brothers and sisters,
“Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven, the more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens. Heaviness is not of my kingdom. Cling to hope.”
I am trying something new. I spend time each morning doing some reading. Each morning I am inspired by at least one or two thoughts. Rather than keeping those thoughts to myself, I thought I could share them with you. No response from you is expected. And please, if you do not want to be included in this Epiphany Reflection email, I will not be offended if you simply say something like “No thank you.”
If you would like a bit more, I believe Shaun is the one who pointed us to this website in a recent post on FPCE face book page. It is worth the time! Go to: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/today/2018/01/05/barn-boots-blessings-2/
E-mail announcements and updates will be posted here in place of the devotions and messages from the pastor during our transition and search process.