Reflection by Peter Jenks for World Too Beautiful service, January 5, 2022
January 6, Feast of the Epiphany, is no longer simply an overt religious date for churches to offer a service or meal; but now also a major political date in our country noting the attempts to overthrow our system of government.
For the church it is a date where we celebrate the AHA, the enlightenment of God and the ONENESS of all life on this planet.
There is no longer simply the elect and the outcast – We celebrate the ongoing AHA that is revealed in the sacred breath of our souls -that we are all intertwined as one functioning system of life on this planet sparked and infused by the divine light of love; from trees, to grass, from whales to the smallest insect.
The grandeur, magnificence of our planet, the intricacies of interconnections are all amazing, beyond our full understanding.
From the glories of the great fields of harvest to the tragedies of drought; from the stillness of a summer afternoon to the full force of hurricanes or tornados, our planet is alive with wonder. We learn to adapt, and grow, we work to build community through the deep losses – to the grand celebrations.
On the political side it is a date to remember the work of deep deception and denial. the framework of the powers of darkness.
The power of evil is a force that tempted Jesus in the wilderness, a force that drove the herd of swine into the lake, the force that led to sacred violence and destruction throughout centuries of self-serving, anxiety, deception and fear.
Our time is no different. But we need to allow ourselves to be renewed, to express God’s wisdom and power in a language that meets our time. We need to learn the one little word that Martin Luther claimed when he said “the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him, his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.”
The light of Epiphany, the light that led the Magi, the light that opened Peter and Paul to expand the faith to all people, the light that has been renewed through the centuries in the likes of St. Francis and Martin Luther, John Muir and Martin Luther King, Jr. needs to be rekindled in us. It is opening our faith to all faiths, our understanding of species and planetary interdependence to move beyond a dominance for dominion into a companionship of grace.
It is essential for the life of our planet. It is imperative in order that we do not let the powers that are so heavily funded continue to isolate, divide and destroy the community of life that is not virtual but actual.
We are called to not be naïve about the powers of evil and darkness, but to be strong in the working of our faith and to be bold in our living into the full extent of our lives in a way that is connected to all life on this planet.
We always begin and return in our prayers, our songs, our common gatherings, which serve to weave and reweave the threads that connect us to each other and to God.
And as Yeats prophetically proclaimed there is a rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. We are the Bethlehem of our day, and we need not be afraid.
The beast has arrived at Aushwitz, on the gallows of 20th century lynchings in America, in the systematic extinction of species on our planet, in the vast waste dumps and economic inequalities, it has arrived on our doorstep in the powers that seek to divide the sisters of science and faith from each other’s embrace.
Our work of prayer, our work or revisioning, our openness to the new light, the light that was also first imagined life itself, is before us. The stage of history has put us in the spotlight of the present moment where we are no longer in rehearsal.
Do not worry what you are to say for it will be given to you in this day, but we need to be surrendered to the light of God to hear it.
And any word spoken, from the Spirit of God, is that one little word, the same power as emerged in the person of Jesus.