Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Am. Epiphany 2A

Epiphany 2A, scripture appointed can be found here
I Am 
I am a member of a clergy colleague group called the Young Clergy Woman Project. The motto of the group, is simply stated,”you are not alone”.
And with this, joys and pains, fears and hopes are shared. And, I am reminded again and again, that I am not alone—that this is a calling I share with many, many, others. And, none of us are alone in it.
There is great comfort to be found in this sense of solidarity. And, because I’m attuned to look for these places of connection—I am struck by Paul’s sweet address to the community in Corinth. 
“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind-- just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you-- so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Called to be saints, together. Called into fellowship.
Community is our calling as Christians. To gather, and share--our hopes, our joys, our fears, our pains, our gains and our losses. In one breath we rejoice together at a child born, and at the next, a friend gone from us. 
United through not just our shared humanity, but our shared participation in what we call the body of Christ.
A body that is not bound by mortality, a body that invites and welcomes, connects and affirms, a body that does not exist for the benefit of one, but for the benefit of all. “Come and see”…and what they saw!
The anointed one, human and divine, with a calling beyond the self.  
Come and see…see who I am and see who you shall become!
See the light that has been promised.
See the love.
See the compassion.
See that you have a place in this body.
See that you are not alone! 
Epiphany is a season of revelation, of hearing scripture which speaks to the revealed divinity of Christ. Yet, it also speaks to our own unveiling.
As he is revealed, our own nature is revealed…
Let’s consider for a moment, the light of the nations—
“I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth”
You is us.
I will give you as a light. As the body of Christ we are to be the light. To reflect into the world the good and the beautiful, the compassionate and the just.
And, in doing so, combat the fear that threatens to overwhelm our very humanity.
This seems a daunting task in the best of times, and these…well they are not the best of times.
And, over the past several months, I’ve struggled with how to help my own children through these anxious times. How to help them feel less alone, less isolated in their longing for better and for kinder. One of the tools I’ve found myself using is the “I Am” series by Brad Meltzer. This is a series of graphic novels written for children, and they carry the tag line “Ordinary People Change the World”.  In these stories, famous light bringers are presented as children who, small as they are, have made a big impact—I Am Jane Goodall; I Am Martin Luther King Jr; I Am George Washington; I am Rosa Parks…
I have felt energized and empowered by these simple texts—and the reminder that these heroic individuals are quite simply people who consistently chose to reflect the light of goodness into the world. Heroes made commonplace—in a world in which we find ourselves longing for heroes to upset the powers that threaten to hurt and destroy God’s creation.
Heroes, saints, helpers…many words for those who we look to for our salvation…and in considering these words, I consider those of modern day Saint, Mr. Rogers who once said…
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
What has struck me about this statement, “look for the helpers” is how simple yet comforting it is.  Because, when we see the helpers we see love break into the broken places. We see a light that shines, and we are drawn to the light that is love. And, then, and then…we begin to reflect the light.
I am…Joy. And, you are…you are my fellowship, the body of which I am part, and the means by which we, the collective we, will aid in the in-breaking of God’s love into the world.
None of us can do it alone. But, we are not alone. And, when we are part of this larger body we, as Paul puts it, are not lacking in any spiritual gift. Together, we WILL aid in the in-breaking of God’s love. We have all that we need to do so.
Not alone. Together.
I am, and we are.
 “together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”.
Together, as a light to the nations.
Together, as a voice of reason.
Together, as a beacon of hope.
Laughing. Crying. Rejoicing. Sorrowing. Grieving. Lamenting. Prophesying. Challenging.
Together. We are not alone.
I am. You are.
We are. The body of Christ.

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