Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will appear over you.
4 Lift up your eyes and look around;
5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
While I know that with each new dawn we gain several extra minutes of light in our day, January still always feels like a dark month with the glitter and sweetness of Christmas behind us, and three or so, often unrelenting wintery months stretching out before us.
Add to this the cumulative darkness of a whole variety of world events and the darkness can seems quite impenetrable at times. How wonderful in our Christians year, that in defiance to all of this, it is the season of Epiphany, the season of light!
The prophet Isaiah and the children of Israel certainly knew a thing or two about darkness. Isaiah would challenge the people of his time to move out of their darkness and to intentionally and deliberately march into the brilliance of God’s new day. For in Isaiah’s time, the children of Israel found themselves, dwelling in the thick darkness of Babylonian exile, strangers in a foreign land, their temple destroyed, their homeland invaded, seemingly powerless on every front, and themselves swimming in a sea of chaos and darkness.
Isaiah was quite clear in his acknowledgement of the darkness as only a starting place. Standing right in the middle of it all he had a clear message for the people of his age:
“Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
For while the darkness may be thick, even very thick at times, it does not take a lot of light to break into that darkness.
The question is, are we looking for it? Are we anticipating it? What does Isaiah encourage us to do if we want to see this light? “Lift up your eyes and look around.” Lift up your eyes!
If we follow Isaiah’s encouragement, we are told that we will both see and be radiant; and our hearts shall thrill and rejoice! If we give ourselves to looking for that light, for that presence of God in and around us, working through us and working through others, we will begin to see for it is a new day.
As we get more practiced at this, we will understand what and where are the gold, the frankincense and the myrrh of the moments sent to enrich and transform us. Can we, like the wise ones of so long ago be faithful in our journeying to find the one beneath that shining star, God’s light, that life that is the light of all people, that light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. Lift up your eyes… drink it all in, drink it in deeply.
Just as those wise ones of old knew a journey with such potential is best done in the company of other explorers, why not consider whether an Education for Ministry group with other seekers might not be your next adventure?
If you are interested in learning more about all that is available to you in our Education for Ministry sessions, please reach out at any time to either Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon, Huron’s EfM Animator at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would be pleased to hear from you.
Rev. Canon Dr. Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.