Thoughts From a "Seasoned" Pastor
"... the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow
of death light has dawned." (Matthew 4:16, from the Gospel text
for the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany)
It is hard for me to believe that by the
time you read this article I will have been a pastor for a full cycle of
seasons in the church year. Starting at Trinity during the season
of Epiphany, I was greeted with so much warmth and light that it was hard
to believe it was mid-winter. The season of Epiphany is where we
find ourselves again now. From the Greek word epiphania, meaning
"manifestation" or "revelation" this is the time in the church year to
celebrate the revelation of Christ as Light of the World. The gospel
writer Matthew's words of John the Baptist quoting from the prophet Isaiah,
remind us that we are the people who sit in darkness, close to death.
Yet, the appearance of light has dawned for us in the tiny baby born in
Who is this child that the magi traveled
so far to meet? Who is this human baby born in a humble stable?
Who is this man who has such a drawing power? During the season of Epiphany,
Jesus is at the center of all the attention. "But isn't Jesus ALWAYS
the center of attention?" you may ask. Ah, a pastor can dream, can't
she? The truth is we all place other people and "things" at the center
of our attention. We all sit in the darkness at times. Epiphany
is the time to bring the Light of the World back into the heart of our
lives; focus the spotlight on Jesus.
In Matthew's gospel verses we will see
Jesus in awesome and brilliant ways. We'll see him as he rises from the
waters of his baptism accompanied by a dove. We'll see him teach
in the synagogues and heal the sick. We'll see him transfigured in
the presence of Peter, James and John. We'll see him cause a commotion
wherever he goes!
As we pack away the Christmas decorations,
we might leave aside a single candle or a strand of white lights to help
us remember that the glory and dazzle of Christmas gives birth to the truth
that this human baby is the Light of the World. The greatest witness
we can be to this Light comes in the fuller sharing of our lives with others.
This also serves to keep Christ at the center of our lives year-round.
Ah, the dreams of a "seasoned" pastor!
May the light of Christ fill every comer
of your life,