from THE CHRONICLE
the newsletter of Calvary Episcopal Church
An Eye-Opening Time
a wonderful collection titled 2000 Years of Prayer it is
recorded that St. Columba, the sixth century Irish monk and missionary
who founded the Iona community, authored this beautiful prayer:
Lord, be a bright flame before me,
Be a guiding star above me,
Be a smooth path below me,
Be a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today and for evermore. Amen.
is seeking a clear and bright spiritual Vision out ahead of
as well as a solid, dependable friend alongside him. He knew that
the God who truly is the Lord of all is a "both and" reality— not just "out there" but also "in here." That's
a truth that we human beings have to keep on learning and
both personally and institutionally. God calls us to see awesome
dimensions of spiritual eternity but always to keep our feet
on the ground, dealing with the sometimes harsh realities of everyday
life. It's just not good enough to pray for peace unless you're
willing to work for justice. It's not good enough to sing about
love if you haven't reached out to overcome hurts and misunderstandings.
article was first written to celebrate] the
calendar day the Church calls Epiphany, a name that sounds
and traditional but which probably doesn't communicate much to
the modern ear. If you take the time to look it up you'll find
such as "manifestation, revelation, making-known, making clear,
or disclosing." Originally it referred to that period of
time following the birth of Jesus in which the word was getting
that this newborn baby was, in fact, the Messiah—the Promised One.
It didn't seem possible to the people of that Age that this lowly
carpenter's son might be the King of Kings. The stories of the
Wise Men, John's baptism of Jesus, and Jesus' first miracle when
water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana are all epiphanies—occasions
when people's eyes were suddenly and unexpectedly opened to see
the reality they might otherwise have missed.
has a way of breaking in with a whole new perception of truth and
reality. God won't permit us to hang onto fixed, unassailable opinions.
isn't just something that happened once-and-for-all in the Bible
a long time ago. Epiphanies are sent to us all the time if we're
alert to see them. They break through long-held assumptions, challenge
too-quickly-made judgments, and open doors that we thought we had
slammed shut a long time ago. Is your boat being rocked these days?
Surprisingly, it might just be God's hand on the gunwales!
©2002 The Rev. Robert Hansel
Published in Volume 47, No. 1 of The Chronicle, the newsletter
of Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, TN