Monday, January 07, 2013

Epiphany, In More Ways Than One

Yesterday was Epiphany Sunday, when we celebrate Christ as the light revealed to all the nations, symbolized by the Wise Men. It's a big deal for Light of Christ, because it's our name feast, as well as its anniversary. It's been six years! Can't believe this May will be five years that we've lived here.

So we held our annual meeting right after church, along with a catered luncheon. We even had visitors who stayed for lunch and the meeting! And it was a good report. We are financially healthy, and we are bringing on a communications coordinator part-time, which will fill a need that's been driving me crazy since the beginning. Our coordinator will keep her eye on various balls and make sure we don't drop so many--to mix a couple of metaphors--since we have no full-time staff to do that. She's also going to help with publications, which are currently non-existent, excepting the bulletin, but she'll be reformatting that and also developing our website and a church newsletter. Thanks be to God!

We're also developing our youth group and a healing ministry, and we are going to start house groups in three different geographical locations. Woot! And our vestry is taking an exciting first step toward bringing on a full-time priest. They will be looking at what it would take financially, and discerning how and when we'll know that it's time to take this step. Our total budget is only $90,000, so it seems a long way off, but God will provide when it's His timing.

I had my own mini-epiphany in church. I entered the service with a heavy heart, having mostly to do with the holidays ending and facing re-entry to real life today. I had been praying about the new year, pondering what God might be saying to me and what "one word for the year" He was speaking to me, and though part of me was optimistic and eager, another part of me was discouraged that life circumstances always seem to overwhelm my good intentions and resolutions.

Father Rooster's sermon was on the Wise Men, and as he talked about their actions, I thought: They went on a journey! They saw the light, they made preparations, they left everything and went on a journey. They didn't know how far it would go or where it would lead, but they put their eyes on that light and they followed.

I felt like God was saying the same thing to me: Fix your eyes on Me; I am calling you to a journey. But Lord, I thought, I get so stuck in daily details, emotional ruts and unhealthy patterns, things that pull my eyes down to focus on the mud around me. I just can't keep my eyes on the Light! Entering a new year, I felt defeated before I even started.

So I told all this to a prayer minister, during our communion time, and he prayed for me. He reminded me that after the Wise Men had seen Jesus, and it was time to go back to their ordinary lives, God showed them in a dream that they should travel a new way home, and not go back the way they had come. He prayed for God to show me a new way for my journey.

Even though I don't see clearly what the new way is to be, his prayer gave me the encouragement I needed. I feel a strengthening of my resolve to find time for the practices that help me keep my eyes on the Light. It's not hours and hours that I need, but frequent, intentional moments of prayer, Scripture reading, journaling, listening to worship music, intentional reading, intentional conversation, starting our homeschooling day with prayer, maybe even Scripture memory. (Yes, this post really inspired me.) And fewer moments on Facebook, probably.

More ways than one, I said in the title. Thank God, who shows us new ways.


Heather said...

That post moved me too! We are going to work on selections from The Sermon on the Mount, though, instead of the Romans selections.

Papa Bear said...

Thanks be to God! As you know, 2012 was a year of changes for us, and we anticipate more and bigger changes in 2013, with no clear path yet visible through many of them. Over the past few years, I've been noticing how our plans and systems are not the Gospel. Lately, it's been on my mind that Jesus said he brought Good News. What is this news, and what did he tell us to do about it? Praying that God will keep your eyes and ours fixed on Jesus, and that we'll trust Him to lead us home on the new way. (I'm also finding the more I stay away from Facebook, the better!)

At A Hen's Pace said...

Heather, yes, I'm thinking the Sermon too. If I get organized and actually follow through. :(

Papa Bear, praying along with you for the changes ahead. Eyes on the Light!