Saturday, February 25, 2012

Testing, 1,2,3

26 February 2012/Lent 1B – Genesis 9:8-17/Mark 1: 9-15
The Reverend Kirk Alan Kubicek, Saint Peter’s at Ellicott Mills, Maryland
Are We God’s Beloved?
When times are difficult, really really bad, it seems as if there is a barrier shut between heaven, the household of God, and earth, the dwelling place of humankind, men and women created imago Dei, in the image of God. The barrier seems impenetrable, precipitating what seems like a drought of divine assistance, communication and intervention into whatever current crises we have wrought by our own hands and behavior. Where is their God? Where is our God? Human alienation from the divine sends us into the wilderness of our hearts and souls. Helplessness and despair describe our feelings in such times.

Mark is written against such a background. The Jerusalem Temple, Jerusalem itself, and most of Israel is in ashes, burnt to the ground by the Roman Legions crushing the attempted Jewish rebellion of 70ce. Just four years earlier the Emperor Nero had rounded up Christians, blaming them for the burning of Rome, and condemned them to the beasts, throwing them into the Roman arenas to be devoured by wild animals in 64ce. Out of these recent “current events” Mark offers this rather terse account of Jesus’ baptism and forty days in the wilderness “with the wild beasts,” and angels “waiting on him.”

Just a few verses before, John the baptizer is holding a revival meeting down by the river, urging people to be cleansed from sin, urging people to repent, literally to turn or return to the ways of God. Surely, John preaches, it is our chosen departure from The Way of God as handed down to us from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Elijah and the Prophets, that has resulted in our being under military occupation. Surely, our lack of Love for God and Neighbor has alienated us from God, from each other, and ultimately from our own selves. Be submerged in the waters of baptism, wake up, renew a right spirit within yourself, go and sin no more.

Jesus, already identified by Mark as the Christ (Anointed), the Son of God, makes his first appearance in Mark not as a child in a manger, but rather as an adult in full solidarity with the thousands of others from Jerusalem, all of Judea and all the surrounding countryside, undergoing John’s rite of repentance and renewal. Jesus, God made flesh, aligns himself with that part of humanity seeking to realign themselves with the God of the Exodus, the God of Israel, the God and Father of all.

As he comes up out of the water, the seemingly impenetrable barrier is breached –"torn open" are the words chosen to describe the moment when the drought of divine assistance, communication and intervention comes to an end! The plea issued by the prophet Isaiah 600 years earlier, “O, that you would tear open the heavens and come down,” is answered (Isaiah 64:1). God’s ruach, God’s Spirit, God’s very essence, descends “like a dove.” The same Spirit-Breath of God that hovers over creation returns to anoint the newly washed Jesus the new Adam of a new creation, a re-creation of God’s kingdom. Like the dove that confirms the end of the 40 days destruction of mankind by flood – wherein God, in our portion from Genesis, announces a covenant with every living creature never to solve the problems of sin and alienation again with such destructive fury - placing the rainbow in the sky to connect God to man, man to God. How ever did we allow such an elegant and beautiful gesture of covenant promise and connection to the divine to be cheapened into our hope to find a pot of gold at our end of the rainbow?

Then there is the announcement – “You are my Son, my Beloved – with you I am well pleased.” Do we recall that earlier beloved son, Isaac, who was nearly sacrificed by his own father Abraham? What God, in the end, did not require of Abraham, God will require of God’s self, the sacrifice of God’s own beloved Son to rescue us from ourselves. God did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all!

The phrase, “with whom I am well pleased” recalls Isaiah’s servant songs (Isaiah 42: 1-9, 52: 13-53:12), a further suggestion that the “way” of this beloved Son of God will entail suffering on behalf of all humankind, joining in Israel's repeated periods of vicarious suffering on behalf of all mankind, while at the same time expressing God’s pleasure that his Son has aligned himself with sinful humanity as they undertake John's serious program of repentance and redirection for their own lives and responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation.

This rending of the heavens will not be reversed, as we saw last Sunday in our Lord’s moment of Transfiguration while he converses with the Law and the Prophets, Moses and Elijah. In these scenes of divine revelation we witness Father, Son and Holy Spirit on the stage all at one time in One Person seeking to liberate human lives from the grip of that which is demonic and evil. Indeed, from one end of Mark’s gospel to another, Jesus is portrayed in constant battle against demons and human devised evil. Lest we think such a world view is primitive, let those with eyes see and those who have ears hear.

Then comes the test – a far better translation of the Greek peirazein, which can be test or tempt. Note the absence of Satan and a series of three temptations in Mark's account. Mark only allows that Jesus spends forty days in the wilderness with wild beasts on the one hand, and angels on the other. Forty years the Israelites were tested in the wilderness. Abraham was tested on the “Mount of the Lord.” God tests God’s chosen vessels for God’s mission to God’s creation. Such testing places one in an extreme situation where in the absence of the usual human resources the strength of one’s adherence to God’s calling may be assessed and refined. Deuteronomy describes the testing of God’s son, or child, Israel, in the wilderness through the image of a father’s disciplinary testing or training of a son (Deut 8:5, 32:10).

Then just the spare details that Jesus is with “wild beasts” and “angels” – demons and God’s own messengers. The sense of danger is expressed on the one hand, with Jesus devoid of any and all human resources, and yet attended and sustained by angelic protection on the other. This sense of disciplinary testing is one way that Biblical thought interprets the experiences of suffering visited upon those who are otherwise devoted to God’s cause. One can well imagine that those Christians and Jews who themselves had just been tested by Nero and the Roman legions' scorched earth policies of submission most certainly would have found comfort in Mark’s portrayal of this testing. We too are meant to take comfort not only in the meaning that can be found in vicarious suffering, but even more so in the divine disclosure that we are God’s beloved and that God is well pleased with those who live in solidarity with God’s Son.

Jesus receives this divine proclamation on behalf of all humankind. For it is Jesus, God made flesh and blood, who chooses to enter into our divine rite of repentance and renewal – God in Christ chooses to join with us. Those who unite themselves with him through faith and baptism share in the divine address he receives. “You are my beloved Son, You are my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” We have forty days to accept this divine address – forty days to internalize just what it means to be God’s beloved – forty days to see that the doctrine of the Trinity, for all its mystery, is not about the remoteness of God. In this Trinitarian inauguration of Jesus’ ministry we see the heavens indeed torn open, God's Spirit coming down, and the Trinity opening its arms to gather humanity into the divine communion that is the essence of God’s kingdom – gathering us into the household of God’s divine Love. May the things we do this day and this Lent enable us to know this in ways that will release us from the grip of suffering, alienation and evil, and make us to become his apostles sent to bring divine comfort to an anxious and alienated world of human suffering and sin. Amen.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Jane Catherine Peddicord
Revelation 21:2-7/John11:21-27

Martha and Mary were sisters. Their brother Lazarus had been sick. They had called for their dear friend Jesus, knowing that He was of God. The text is clear, it says “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” He delays going, and when he does his disciples try to talk him out of going because the region around Bethany was too dangerous with people trying to stone him and others already conspiring to have him arrested. As further sign of his deep love, Jesus replies, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”

Meanwhile, Martha and Mary are at home sitting shiva, the Jewish custom of mourning. Friends and neighbors surround them, much as we come to be with Craig and one another as we seek comfort and consolation at having lost “our friend,” Jane. Word comes to the sisters that Jesus has approached the outskirts of Bethany. Always the practical one, always the one seeing to it that others needs are met, always the housekeeper, Martha goes to meet Jesus before he gets to the house. She has some business with him that is better kept at a distance from the house and those who are comforting the family – she seems to want to spare them hearing what she has to say.

And what she has to say is what we all want to say at a time like this: Lord, if you had been here, Lord if you had heard our prayers, Lord if you had done something, come sooner, our sister Jane would not have had to die! Martha is not a shy one. She may appear so tending to things in the kitchen or in the garden out back, but when the times demanded it she could stand up to anyone, including Jesus.
Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise again. Martha, believing he is talking about some hypothetical future end of days when all the dead shall rise again says in effect, “Sure, sure, we all know that, but I am talking about now.” Jesus responds, “I am now. I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha immediately knows he is right. Martha immediately sees Jesus as if for the first time – He is of God, He is resurrection, He is life. And speaking on behalf of all of us here this morning, and for all people who mourn at all times and in all places, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, the text continues, she went and told Mary who got up and left the house to go see Jesus, and everyone in the house followed. Jesus saw Mary and everyone with her weeping and was “deeply moved.” They go to the tomb, Jesus calls Lazarus out, and orders everyone, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

This is the hard part. This is the hard part for all of us: letting go. We are here because we love Jane and all that she was, is and continues to be – a loving wife, mother, friend, and especially a friend of Jesus. She grew up and married her beloved Bud (Elmer) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Carey Street, Baltimore., where she could remember Fr. Schwinn running down the street after thieves trying to make off with the gold candlesticks and other altar ware! Once they settled here at St. Peter’s she was for a time in the late 1960’s the Parish Secretary under The Reverend Raymond Atlee. She was a faithful member of our chapter of the Daughters of the King, and I can remember her passing around the velvet bag into which members who had failed to wear their DOK cross to the meeting would place their penalty “dues.” She and Nelva Ackman were regulars at our Stations of the Cross Friday nights during Lent, and they would often travel around the diocese sampling oyster and ham dinners at various other parishes. No matter what issues may have been rocking the Episcopal Church in general, or St. Peter’s specifically, Jane was in church nearly every Sunday, even after her stroke in 2003. Sunday after Sunday we would stand at the side door on her way out where she would ask me about news around the diocese of Maryland – particularly about St. Luke’s, Mount Calvary and others of our inner city parishes. Jane loved her Lord, and she was loyal to the Episcopal Church in ways one seldom sees any more. Jane was very much a Martha – practical, strong, always asking about and caring for others, often without comment on her own needs, and now, like Martha, she goes before us to be reunited with her Lord and Savior.

For like Martha in our story from John’s gospel, Jane knows – we come from Love, we return to Love and Love is all around. As promised, Jesus has returned to bring her home to the household of Love – eternal life with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How fitting that the church is decorated for Easter in white and told– The Feast of the Resurrection. The Paschal Candle, first lit on Easter Eve in the darkness shines brightly - the light that shines in the Darkness, the light of Christ. The Light that John says the Darkness has not and cannot overcome. It stands near the Baptismal Font, marking that place where we enter into the fellowship of Christ’s Body, the Church, our entry point into eternal life.

Note how that other John, John of the Revelation, describes the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, what we rather casually refer to as heaven, not as a place to which we go, but rather it comes down to meet us, to gather us, to take us up into the eternal dwelling place at the throne of God! It is God in Christ who comes for His people, gathers them up, wipes away every tear from their eyes and announces that “death shall be no more…behold I make all things new!” Jane is fully a part of this newness. “Neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more for the former things have passed away.”

Jane knows this to be true. No longer must she be separated from her beloved Bud, no more must she manage pain, no more must she be a brave and courageous icon of faith in the Living God of Jesus. Yes, she was thirsty. She was thirsty for God. But now she is drinking freely from the Fountain of the Water of Life! She has been unbound. She is set free. She now joins with Martha and all those who throughout the ages proclaim, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

So we come to mourn. We come to comfort one another. We come to remember and celebrate and give thanks for a life faithfully lived and more faithfully set free. And we come to affirm our faith, Jane’s faith, the faith of the Church.
Henri Nouwen, priest, monk, teacher and author, observed on the death of his mother: In those confusing weeks after my mother’s death I said to myself, “This is a time of waiting for the Spirit of truth to come, and woe unto me, if by forgetting her, I prevent her from doing God’s work in me.” I sensed that something much more than a filial act of remembering was at stake, much more than an honoring of my dead mother, much more than holding on to her beautiful example. Very specifically, what was at stake was the life of the Spirit in me. To remember her does not mean telling her story over and over again to my friends, nor does it mean pictures on the wall or a stone at her grave; it does not even mean constantly thinking about her. No. It means making her an active participant of God’s ongoing work of redemption by allowing her to dispel in me a little more of my darkness and lead me a little closer to the light. In these weeks of mourning she died in me more and more every day, making it impossible for me to cling to her as my mother. Yet by letting her go I did not lose her. Rather, I found that she is closer to me than ever. In and through the Spirit of Christ, she indeed, is becoming a part of my very being. [In Memoriam, p. 60]

Jane already knew this. She stood in this church week after week and affirmed such a faith. Let us join with Jane and stand, turning to page 496 in the Red Book of Common Prayer, and In the assurance of eternal life given at Baptism, let us proclaim our faith:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead and buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated on the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Choice Is Ours

12 February 2012/Epiphany 6B – Mark 1:40-45
The Reverend Kirk A Kubicek, Saint Peter’s at Ellicott Mills
The Choice Is Ours
It is told that when a certain Hasidic Rebbe was jailed in Russia, the Chief Jailer came to visit him. Indeed, the Rebbe was so deep in meditation and prayer he did not even notice the Chief had entered his cell. The Chief Jailer had questions to ask about the Bible, and finally asked, “If God is all knowing, why is it that in the Garden God asks of Adam, ‘Where are you?’” The Rebbe replied, “Do you not believe that all scripture is true for all persons, in all places at all times?” The Chief acknowledged that yes, this is true. “Then rather than asking why God asks Adam, ‘Where are you?’ isn’t the question really ‘Where are you? Where are you in your life? After 46 years, how far along are you in your life?’” The Chief was shaken. How did his holy man know he was 46 years old? He thanked the Rebbe and left the cell pondering the Rebbe’s question.

This episode of Jesus with the “leper,” and all of Mark’s Gospel really, means to function much the same way demanding of all of us who will listen, “Where are you?”

At one dimension it is about a man who has by virtue of some non-specific skin disease (leprosy or Hansen’s disease was unknown in the middle east of the Bible) has been separated from the life of the community. According to the law of Moses recorded in Leviticus 13:45-46, “The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. He shall live outside the camp.” Isolated from family and friends, excluded from public worship and thereby isolated from God, the “leper” is alone in the most radical social sense just because of a rash or flakey skin. Lest we think this is primitive stuff, it is not long ago that TV ads warned us of the “heartbreak of psoriasis.”

We are struck by Jesus reaching out and touching one of the untouchables. And we might mistake the story as one more demonstration of God’s power to heal and cast out demons. Our attention may be drawn, however, to the man’s plea: “If you choose, you can make me clean.” He does not ask to be healed per se – he wants to be made ritually clean again. That is, he wants to be restored to the life of the community – he seeks to be made socially acceptable once again.

At one time or another we all feel alone, isolated, separated from others, set adrift from the community of faith, on our own. Sometimes it is by our own choice – either a desire to be alone, or something we do or say causes a rift. Often times others write us off without so much as a word or an explanation. The most deeply rooted truth of Judeo-Christian religion is the fact that we are irreducibly social creatures. Such alienation eats away at the very core of who we are and who God has created us and wants us to be.

So it is that God sets forth, as Mark proclaims at the outset of chapter 1, “The Beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God….” At the core of the good news, and the focus of nearly the entire first chapter of Mark’s gospel, is God’s intention to end such human alienation; to end social isolation; to restore those who have been set “outside the camp,” the Bible’s metaphor for the all too human tendency to banish those not just like ourselves. This is the essence of being “made clean” – we are restored to unity with God, with others, and ultimately with our own selves.

The man’s opening words to Jesus, however, offer perhaps our most important insight – “If you choose….” If the Kotzker Rebbe is correct, and there can be no doubt about that, and all scripture is true for all persons, in all places and in all times, then these words are aimed at us: If you choose. Do we, like Jesus, choose to reach out and touch those we fear the most? Do we choose to work on behalf of healing relationships, healing lives, healing brokenness in the community, healing creation?

Because that is just what God in Christ chooses to do. Jesus chooses to break with all tradition, set aside all fear of contracting whatever skin condition the man has, and touches him. Can we see, that it is the act of touching the man that makes him clean again? Which act of touching is a metaphor for acceptance - acceptance of those not just like us, of those we fear, of those we do not particularly like, of those who interrupt us when, like Jesus, we are trying to get away from it all.

The text in Greek, by the way, does not say that Jesus was, "Moved by pity," but rather that he responds out of anger! The translators just cannot bear it. Why is Jesus angry? Because Jesus knows getting involved with this man is going to cost him - it is going to make it even more difficult for him to get away on his own, and it is going to bring him into conflict with the authorities who have a monopoly on the health care delivery systems - those who are "authorized" to declare people "clean." Our text makes clear that he could "no longer go into a town freely, but stayed out in the country." Another euphemism - the Greek says he remains in "the wilderness places." Ironically, as the man is restored to life in the community, Jesus is driven to remain "outside the camp," the dwelling place of all those consigned to cry out, "Unclean! Unclean!"

Yet, Mark's is a story that begins in the wilderness with John baptizing, continues with Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness sorting out what it means to be God's beloved, and now already in chapter one has Jesus having to retreat to the wilderness to avoid the crowds.

"Wilderness" in the Bible is also a metaphor - 40 years in the wilderness God taught the people how to be God's people, what it means to love your neighbor, what it means to welcome resident aliens, what it means to be wholly and fully dependent upon the God of the Exodus, the God of Creation, the God who provides daily bread, the only God who can release you from whatever binds you to sin.

On page 855 in our Book of Common Prayer, in our Catechism, it states that the ministry we all share as lay persons is to "continue Christ's work of reconciliation in the world." This work begins with answering the question God puts to Adam in the Garden: Where are you? Where are you in your life? Where are you when it comes continuing Christ's work of reconciliation? And it continues with our response to the invitation the man with leprosy shouts out, "If you choose...."

Do we choose to reconcile and build up the community of faith, or not? Do we wish to participate in God's work of repairing a broken world, or not? The bold truth of the Garden is that God gives us the power to choose. We know how Jesus responds even when it does not suit him to do so. How we choose will make all the difference in the world. Just ask the man in our story today! Are we, like him, ready to "spread the word" freely wherever we are? Amen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Born To Be Light To The World

1 February 2012 / Candlemas * Luke 2: 22-40
To Be A Light
Candlemas is a time to remember, to recollect. To recollect oneself means to gather oneself up into meditation. We have here and now only a moment for this. But that is enough.

So when does this story begin? Forty days ago when the baby was born: the boy who was born to be a light: the Light, really – the Light of the World. Or, maybe it began when the angel first told Mary of her special calling. Or, during the reign of King David. Or, when our people were slaves in Egypt. Or, when our ancestor Abraham set out from his home town of Ur on the Chaldes to become the father of more than all the stars in the heavens and all the grains of sand on the seashore - to be a blessing to all the peoples of God’s creation. Whenever we choose to begin the story, it is one fraught with difficulties from the very beginning.

It was the custom to dedicate the first son to God forty days after his birth - to offer a sacrifice at the Temple to redeem the child. They did so to remind themselves that their children belonged to God. It was a reminder that God has a genuine claim on the very best we have to offer, our children.

The required sacrifice was a lamb, but those too poor to buy a lamb could offer a lesser sacrifice of the birds. The crowds in the Temple precincts would know who they were: bird people were poor people.

The consolation may have been that they were not alone. Many people were out of work. The land was occupied by Rome. Taxes were high. The government was unstable. The economy had tanked. There was resistance throughout the land. Common folk had trouble making ends meet. The lines in front of the pigeon sellers can be assumed to have been very long.

The offering of these birds would be a memorial to all the first born males ordered killed by Pharaoh in that first Holocaust which only Moses survived. This custom binds them to their people and their past just as this Eucharist ties us to ours.

They had come to make a sacrifice and a commitment. Every commitment comes with a cost. Little did they know the offering they were making - not only to God, but for the whole world. Nor could they have been prepared for the old man.

Simeon had been praying and waiting, hoping and studying, waiting for God to reveal the light of the world. Simeon was an old man waiting to be released. Waiting for his people to be released. Waiting to see what we all hope to see but are too busy to remember to look for: a glimpse of the future. A glimpse of the truth. A glimpse of relief and release.

Simeon, we can imagine, like so many of us, had grown weary. Weary of the occupation. Weary of failed policies and failed programs. Weary of the failure of religious and political leaders. Weary of being weary. Everything and everyone who had promised life only yielded weariness and death. So he was waiting for death, and waiting to see if God really keeps promises.

The old man takes the child out of Mary’s arms. Imagine that! Who is he, she must wonder? What is he doing with my child, she thinks?

Suddenly, Simeon becomes a poet for the ages: announcing for all who care to listen and hear that this is not her child, but God’s very own. That this child was born to be light. Light for all peoples. Everywhere and throughout all time. Simeon has seen the light.

Can you see it, he cries out? Here is the light which will withstand all darkness, any darkness - even death upon a Roman cross!.

Then quietly he hands the child back to his mother, and he is gone. Released. God’s promise fulfilled. Simeon returns to God as the mother and father look on. Joseph with the birds in his hands. Mary with the child born to be a light. All the other mothers and fathers looking on.

And if that is not enough, then there is the Old Woman – Anna the prophet! She is in the temple day and night praying and fasting, waiting for messiah to come. She has been doing this for a long, long time! She and Israel had been waiting a long, long time to be released from bondage to Persia, to Greece, to Rome, to sin. She is telling everyone within earshot about the child – the child who is born to be light to the world. Perhaps this should really be called The Feast of the Old People – Old People who see and help us to see that God is in the midst of us, that God is here, now, right where we are.

Now we are here this evening. The Hasidic Jewish understanding of scripture is that it is true for all persons at all times in all places. That is, this story is about us. We are a part of that same crowd, straining to catch a glimpse of the light - holding the light in our own hands, if only for a moment. As it was for Simeon, a moment will have to be long enough.

In Connecticut we lived next door to an old man - Em Tramposch. He had devoted his life to propagating life with his hands: he was a nurseryman. From his fingers new life seemingly would spring forth every day. He had a deep sense of where that life came from. You could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice, but most of all you could see it in his hands.

We would spend days and nights in his greenhouse, watching his hands work: cutting, dipping and planting cuttings, listening to what he had to say about the economy, politics and listening to the greatest hits of Patsy Kline. For the last four years we were there Em had cancer. Some days were better than others, some not so good at all, but nearly every day he was in the greenhouse propagating life.

One summer he became bed-ridden. Jane, his wife, found ways with her camcorder to let him see every day what was happening down in the greenhouse. Each day like Simeon and Anna he waited and watched.

That August, Cerny was born. We brought her home. Her first day out of the house, we wheeled her in the pram right into the living room, right up to the side of Em’s hospital bed.

At the sight of the newborn baby, without a word, Em pulled together what little strength he had left, and held his arms up in the air. He wanted to hold her. We put her in his arms, and he held her by his side. For ten or fifteen minutes she slept cradled in his arms, Jane sitting beside him. He watched. He looked at the baby. It gave him life and light to hold her in his arms.

It was a picture of life coming in and life going out. But mostly it was a vision of life and light. As it turned out Em, like Simeon before him, was released, and died only a few days later.

We come together as what can be called “a gathering darkness” casts a shadow over the whole land. Like Mary and Joseph we come to remember our past and God’s saving actions, to renew our commitment to our God, and like Simeon and Em, to catch a glimpse of the light so we can tell others what we have seen. We come to remind ourselves that our God does indeed keep his promises! We come so that like the boy who was born to be a light, we too can become a light for others - so that we can be propagators of light and life for the whole world.

We have now only a moment to catch that glimpse and then live accordingly. If only for a moment, it is more than enough. Far more than enough to become the light that we carry, the light that we hold in our hands. The light that holds us in God’s hands.