Saturday, December 27, 2014

St. John, Teach Us

Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light; that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sandwiched between yesterday's stoning death of St. Stephen and tomorrow's massive slaughter of the Holy Innocents, we have the Feast Day of St. John, the evangelist. And the words of his collect serve as a reminder that this poetic and contemplative Gospel writer wants us to reflect on a key image of this Christmas season: the Light of Christ which has come back into our winter days. Even for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, where the light is at its height of summer, there is something about that abundance of the sun that can lead one to reflect upon the grace that comes to us through the Son, the Light from Light.

As I think about the illumination of who Christ was as the Son of God that comes through John's Gospel, I think about the ways in which we can carry that light forward so many centuries later. Like the way we pass the flame of a candle to our neighbors in the pews when we sing, "Silent Night," we can pass the light through small gestures of kindness to our fellow human beings as well as bigger statements and testimonies to that Light by standing with our neighbors during their times of darkness and struggle. I give thanks for all those who take care of the elderly and children, whether for money or for love. I also pray for those who seek the Light that they may encounter someone who will reach them in such a way that their newly-lit wick will burn in their hearts forever. Come, Spirit of water and blood, come.

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