Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let There Be Light...

Nearly month's end and here I sit, wondering just where this
first 1/12 of 2014 has gone. Not that it hasn't been full- and
bountiful in so many ways...but time does seem to pass by
far too quickly these days. Perhaps that is simply part of the
aging process, as I can recall- from my younger years- older
people always saying that time passed more quickly as you
age. But perhaps it is a consequence of this fast-moving world
of which we are all a part...technological advances occurring
so quickly that one can barely become accustomed to the
"latest" before it has become outdated and obsolete. And
perhaps it is also the to-be-expected sequela of the never-
ending news cycles which surround us continually.

Now, I have often written and preached about my deep belief
in our interconnectedness as human residents of this planet...
in our connectedness to the other species which share space
with us here, so I am assuredly not denying that. And I also
deeply believe in bearing witness to what is happening in our
world- the hard darknesses as well as the wonderful and
amazing places of light and hope and joy and meaning. But
I find that the perpetual bombardment of "news"- which is
quite often not at all news-worthy- can put my teeth on edge
and cause me to turn off the TV, the radio, the computer, the
phone, and retreat into a blessed and holy silence for a time.
And the older I get- or as more time passes- whichever it is,
I find I need this "information fast" more and more. Deep,
prayerful concern on my part seems to demand the silence...
the solitude...the freedom from distraction, so that I can
focus my heart, my mind, my intention, upon those who truly
need my prayers.

This weekend, we in the church celebrate Candlemas- a time
of lighting  lots of candles; a time to look with hope to the
return of the light as days get increasingly longer; a time to
hear of the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple
at Jerusalem as well as the appearance of two elderly people-
Anna and Simeon- who recognize the Light when they see it.
It is one of my favorite gospel stories, most probably because
it is one of the few places where the aged are both included
and celebrated in scripture...and because they have both been
waiting for, anticipating, the arrival of the Light of the World,
even as peoples throughout the ages waited for, anticipated,
the coming of the light into the dark dreariness of winter.

I love that they recognize Jesus...know him, even without
being introduced him. They acknowledge this infant as
containing, bearing, the Divine within his tiny person...which
is what I have always felt when I have had the privilege of
baptizing an infant...acting as the agent of acknowledgement
for the gathered community of faith that this little one was a
Child of God in whom the Living Spirit was pleased to dwell.

In another month, which- if January's passing is any indication-
will speed by quickly, we in the church will enter the season
of Lent, a time when we are traditionally called upon to fast,
to pray, and to especially care for the poor. Most often, our
"fast" is to refrain from eating chocolate or drinking coffee or
something we should probably be eschewing anyway. So I'm
thinking about a fast this year from the  evening news on TV...
the morning news on the radio...not because I don't care but
because I DO- and I want to give myself time and space to
focus on and pray- with deliberation- for the many people
and situations which present themselves to me in so many
ways every day- whether I am looking for them or not. My
morning and evening practice can be to light a candle, sit in
silence, and page through the Rol-e-dex my memory and
surround each person and situation there with the light of
hope and concern and compassion, asking God always that if
I can shine some light in their darkness, I will be shone the way.
It's about making myself available, I guess...some call it
"being a disciple"...I call it truly living.

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