Epiphany is the season of responding to the Light of Christ, the presence of God in our midst. (That is the astounding Good News of the Incarnation: God is with us! We are not alone!) The Light of God is in us, among us and in the world; how do we soak up that Light? Not to bask in it (although that is a good beginning and that is what we need to do at Christmas) so much as to reflect it, to focus that light to shine into the reality of our world.
In Sunday school we sang “This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine,” holding a light in the darkness. In times of challenge and long en- durance it is important to remember that we do not manufacture this light our- selves. The source of Light is God. Like a solar panel converts sunlight into electrical energy, through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation, we are to absorb God’s Light and then use it for energy to cooperate with God in transforming the world. The presence of God in our midst has power to shift us out of numbness and despair, to sustain our hope, and to energize us for God’s healing work.
As 2021 ends we are acutely aware of the darkness, of the monumental threats to our human community and to Earth and all its creatures. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless and hopeless. Into this reality, we affirm we have God’s light. We dare to say: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1) The immense energy of the Creator of all Life, the outpouring of self-giving Love for us shown in Jesus, these are real sources of vitality. We also have the gift of community to encourage each other for acts of change; we are not alone. Our habits of worship, daily prayer and meditation, (however we do that: walking in the woods, having a quiet cup of tea at the beginning of the day, contemplating beauty, staring in awe at a snowflake or sunset), group bible studies, book studies, conversations with our spiritual companions, taking soup to a sick friend, serving at the food bank: all of our spiritual practices are ways of turning our solar panels towards our eternal Source, the Light of Christ, to allow God to energize us.
My prayer for us in 2022, as we face the ongoing challenges of responding to climate change, is that God will re-invigorate us and renew our hope. May we have energy for creative ingenuity to find solutions, renewed endurance to face hardships, practical generosity of spirit to find ways to love our neighbours and Earth.
At Diocesan Council we are exploring having emergency plans in place so that we can offer help for communities in climate emergencies, such as providing volunteers, or providing our buildings when there are evacuations or a cooling station during a heat wave.
If you are an individual who is retired and has time, please write to your MP to urge them towards fulfilling our climate goals; politicians need to hear that we have the political will for change and that caring for the earth is a priority. Write to companies to implore them to stop using plastic.
There is no doubt that the kind of changes we need to make to protect the earth will require personal and communal sacrifices, such as less travel, less consumption of fuel and other resources, using our taxes to pay for re-training of the work force for renewable energy sources.
One of the spiritual challenges for us as people of God in 2022 is to be people of hope in the midst of despair, (not “Pollyanna” ignoring the world but practical service to the world), to reflect God’s light.
May God’s light renew our hope , sustain us, and reinvigorate us to Arise and Shine!
Praying for every bless- ing for you in 2022,
Yours in Christ,