“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” [Isaiah 60:1]
We long for an epiphany, a moment which will rescue us from the darkness. We long for a moment which has within it the power to break through the depths of despair, just a phrase, a gesture, a scene, a word that startles us with wonder, healing, and hope. I hear this longing each time I hear these kinds of questions: “What will you do about (fill in blank) if you are elected president? Where will you lead the Church if elected Bishop? I am sure I will, like everybody else, stumble in the darkness trying to answer, in my own head, these kinds of questions. People are looking for the “Light!” “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” [Isaiah 60:1]
Where have I (we) missed Jesus Christ, the light of the world, trying to contain it in my own agenda, sinfully thinking my light is the answer? I’ve looked for the light of healing and wholeness while stumbling through the darkness of my “midnight of the soul”.
As a young boy, whenever I scraped my knee my grandma would warn me against what she called “digging in it.” “Boy, leave that place alone, stop digging in it.” “Leave it be, and let the Lord heal it.” I always wanted to say, “Grandma, it’s my knee, and it feels good digging in it.” Thankfully, God blessed me with at least some good sense. I was wise enough not to talk back to my grandma, no matter how smart I thought I was.
It was everything I could do to keep my little fingers from removing the hard scab. I wanted to look under the scab at my pink skin (I know it sounds gross) somehow believing that I needed to see the healing. The death of my Priscilla still remains the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced. It will be three years August 21st since I lost her. I find myself still looking at the rawness of my grief hoping and seeing if I am healing, looking for a light, an epiphany of life in the face of death.
I can hear my grandma, and the prayers of the saints saying, “It’s okay to cry, grieve honey, and if you need to scream at God, go ahead scream, and then let (leave) it be.” It is in that tender place of letting God have it that we can rest in God’s healing grace, even though we can not even begin to understand it. Sometimes it is not for us to understand, even when we feel the answer makes absolutely no sense to us. Who could have understood the Word made flesh sleeping in a stable? Who could have understood magi trekking across a perilous desert following a star to find what, a baby? When we let go, we might just get a glimpse, an epiphany. This is the reality of God breaking into our world of things and patterned behavior to capture our hearts by surprise for a moment. Out of darkness, into the light of the stable; a moment of wonder, and then into the darkness again. One glimpse and God appears to be gone, but we are never again the same person.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” I pray we will let go long enough to experience God’s epiphany in unexpected places, and in unexpected people. “For as heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:9]. Stop digging in it, leave it be and let the light of God do the healing. “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” [Micah 6:8]
It is the price God chose to pay in Bethlehem’s
child, a flash of beauty, salvation, and redemption
amidst countless voices, chaos is a million hells
crying for light enough to melt the darkness away.
By Leonard Fairley
In The Light of Christ,
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