the thoughts of Howard Thurman:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
This coming Sunday we celebrate Epiphany, when the Magi reached the place where the small child lived with his humble parents. This includes the story of the bright star that led the way for them over the course of their very long and difficult journey. Too often, we focus on the climax of that journey - the moment they bowed to worship and presented their gifts. A wonderful moment indeed! ONe to celebrate and rejoice in. But don't forget the journey. If it were not for the light of that star, they would have given up.
The light of Jesus is what lights our path as we journey into and through our daily life. Seek the light and follow it!
As C.S. Lewis said so poignantly, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
And yet, no matter how long we have followed Jesus, to seek the light is a daily process. We have to "let the light in" through our thoughts, through our words, and through our actions.
We have to, for example, choose hope over despair, kindness over meanness, faith over cynicism. But we can't manufacture these virtues. We inculcate them through daily prayer, through the wise counsel of a friend, and over the time that marks a long obedience in the same direction.peace and joyPastor Wendy
The writer Robert Fulgham tells the story of one of his professors, a man named Alexander Papaderos, who once taught Fulgham a two-week course on Greek culture. Towards the end of the last session, his teacher opened the floor for questions. Fulgham boldly asked "Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?" After a few moments Papaderos pulled his wallet from his pocket, removed a tiny, quarter-sized mirror, and replied:
When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken piece of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.
I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine-in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.
I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light-truth, understanding, knowledge-is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.
Introduction by Stuart Strachan, taken from Robert Fulgham, It was on Fire when I Lay it Downpeace and joyPastor Wendy
Here is a prayer written by a United Methodist woman in PhiladelphiaANOTHER YEAR TO PRAISE GOD
The dawning of a new year
Filled with love and good cheer
Another year to give God praise
Joyful hearts, hands raised
One more opportunity to show our gratitude
In the awesome quiet of His solitude
Again, another chance to make amends
For last year’s multitude of sins
While God’s love for us runs deep
His promises…forever to keep
Undeserved blessings – ours to reap
Another year to give God the glory
And tell His wonderous story
Through a virgin’s miraculous birth
Jesus came to live with us on earth
To fulfill God’s salvation plan
For every woman and man
Life everlasting…for eternity
For sinners like us – such grace and mercy
Yes, another year to exalt the Savior
Another chance to check our behavior
One more time, just to say “thank you”
For abundant life beginning anew
Fay P. Claud
Copyright 1/2/2008peace and joyPastor Wendy
A prayer by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
as a new year approaches
I seek to become not a new person
but more myself,
more aware of what is infinitely good in me,
more attentive to you in me,
who you become in me to be.
I am grateful for your presence,
in awe of your glory,
open to your grace in me.
Unfold your light in me
and I will become you.
Unbind your compassion in me
and I will shine with you.
Be in me;
I will be in you.