“UkeCharist” (Ukulele led worship service with St. David’s Church)
“I Saw the Light”
“O star of wonder, star of night,
Guide us to thy perfect light.”
It’s a rather amazing story isn’t it? The Wise men, travelling from the East, outside Judea, follow the light of the star, probably for weeks or even months, to find Jesus and his parents in Bethlehem and to worship him. It signifies to us that the light of God reaches all Nations.
Although we often lump the magi’s visit in with the Christmas night Jesus was born, The wise men didn’t arrive to Bethlehem until some time later, which is why we remember their visit on the Feast of the Epiphany, today, which comes at the end of the 12 days of Christmas.
The word “Epiphany” gets its name from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “to appear, to show or to manifest.” So in the Christian Calendar, The Day of Epiphany, and the season that follows it, which lasts until the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, is a time that we celebrate the manifestation and revelation of God to humanity, namely in Jesus, the Christ, the light of the World.
Often times you will hear someone say, ‘Oh, I’ve just had an Epiphany!” which means that they’ve had an illuminating discovery or realization. Something appeared in their brain that hadn’t been clear before. Or maybe, instead of saying “I’ve had an Epiphany” you’ve said, like our opening song, “I See the Light!” … “I saw the Light”
And if you had been wandering around in darkness, maybe you’ve been able to say,
“Praise the Lord, I saw the Light!”
Light is one of the themes of the season of Epiphany.
In fact, Over and over again in scripture, Light is used as a way to talk about the truth and presence of God, which overcomes darkness, which signifies evil, pain, and hopelessness.
We heard this in our first reading,
As the prophet Isaiah said, “Arise, Shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you,
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Is 60:1-3)
At the beginning of John’s Gospel we hear about Jesus, “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
….The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. ((Ch.1, vs 4,5,9)
Later in the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (8:12)
God’s light is very good news, because, this world can be a dark place. Teenagers are homeless, and people go hungry. There is war, and hatred, and prejudice in the world. In our own lives we can be dealing with dark times too. Grim times of grief, the dark pit of financial worries, a medical challenge that has us stumbling in dark confusion.
So we need to seek the light, see the light, and be light for others.
There’s a story I love to tell that author, Robert Fulghum, shares about himself in one of his books.
Robert tells how whenever he took a class or sat in a seminar, he would take advantage of the last few minutes, when the instructor would say, “Are there any questions?” to ask his most important question.
“What is the meaning of life?” he would ask.
Usually, everyone would just laugh, thinking that he was joking, and the class was dismissed. But one day, he got an answer.
The answer came from Dr. Alexander Papaderos, a native of Crete, and the founder of an institute to promote peace and understanding between Germans and Cretans after World War II. Here is the story Dr. Papaderos shared with Robert:
“When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces 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.[about the size of a quarter] 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.
“I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world – into the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.”
It seems to me, that this can be the meaning of our lives too. We are not the source of light, but we are called to receive God’s light and reflect God’s light to others.
That light includes Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, Healing and Freedom.
Hope for the marginalized.
Love for the unloveable.
Joy, even in the midst of pain.
Peace that passes all understanding, even in a chaotic world.
Healing of body, mind, and spirit and
Freedom from all those things that hold us captive in the dark.
Jesus showed us that light more fully than any other person who walked this earth, But we are all called to reflect that light…
Yes, we are all broken mirrors, part of a larger whole, but when we put our little piece of the mirror in the path of the source of Light, then we are able to reflect that true light into dark places. That may mean allowing others to shine God’s light in your life if you are stuck in darkness. That may mean opening yourself more to prayer and study, so that the word of God can be a lamp to your feet. That may mean actively seeking out the good in this world and sharing that, rather than focusing on the negative and the dark.
So Arise, Shine. Let the light of Christ’s love be reflected in your life and shine into the dark corners of the world. Let us each walk as a child of the light. Amen.
 Robert Fulghum, It was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, (New York: Ivy Books, 1989)174-175