A new year! Whew. I don’t know about you, but these years these days are little like birthdays have become in my gathering dotage. Eh! Or even: Ugh! What new strange things will 2022 bring us? What hurdles will we get to jump this year? How often will we find ourselves not jumping high enough to clear the hurdle?
There are always new things God is doing, of course, in addition to the challenges and hurdles. Our God never rests. And new things are kind of God’s main business. January is part of the season we call Epiphany – the season not of hurdles, but of God’s light breaking through. Epiphany begins with God’s light being so bright to some foreign wise ones that they journey from Persia to Bethlehem looking to see the light. But you need to have special glasses of wisdom and faith on to see this light. For most of the world, I guess, this light was not even noticed. After all, it was a poor baby born to a poor woman and a man who were not even married. God was doing a new thing. So it goes again and again in the stories of Epiphany. God breaks in with something new that many folks don’t understand or welcome. Only people who take the time to put on their wisdom and faith glasses get to see that Jesus comes out of the baptismal waters to the voice of God and a mission like no other. Only people who are willing to do more than just party notice that the best wine at the wedding comes when Jesus changes the waters of purification into a celebration. Only the few who climb all the way up the mountain with Jesus get to see the light that surrounds him in white and the appearance of Elijah and Moses in the Transfiguration – God doing a new twist.
When I find myself in the fatigue about these days, I try to put on some wisdom and faith glasses to see just what God might be up to knew to transfigure the darkness into light. God did this before – the scriptures are full of stories of God doing this. And God will do this again. Just because the scriptures end doesn’t mean God has stopped acting. And it also doesn’t mean we don’t need to put on some hiking boots to climb the mountain with Jesus. The light is still breaking through.
As people of faith, God has graced us with eyes to see, glasses of wisdom and faith. And our world so desperately needs to know this is not just our world, but God’s world where new things and great light are breaking in every moment. Some days, the light is like the glow of Jesus transfigured. But somedays, it’s a silent darkness that still speaks a whisper of God’s new life. That poor baby sitting in the feeding trough with a dirty diaper and crying may not look like much, but there is light there like no other if we learn to see as God sees.
Whatever 2022 brings – the good and the bad – there will be one thing for sure: God will be bringing light. So put on your wisdom and faith glasses and let’s see what we can find for a world that needs a new light still.
The Very Rev. Gary Barker