Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. Recently, a friend sent me the following litany authored by 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.”
I find it very appropriate for today. I like the expression that Christmas is not over. Its work has just begun. The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the Light of Christ brought into the world. Isn’t this exactly how the Light enters? We carry the Light to find the lost and to make music in hearts.
This also brings to my mind and my prayers my own congregation, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Denver. We are currently in the process of discerning what new thing our parish is called to do. What new effort are we called to bring into our corner of the world? How are we called to continue to carry the Light into the world?
One of the things I keep hearing, all around me, at St. Barnabas and elsewhere, is that our churches need to carry the Light out of their buildings and into the world. We need to emerge with the Light into the wider community.
Our denominations, our national church hierarchies, tend to respond to the large events: the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in Pakistan. That is good and requires our support. It is one way of carrying the Light into the world.
But, we need not go to Haiti or Pakistan to find our brother or sister who is lost, broken, hungry or a prisoner. Our brothers and sisters are also much closer to home. We are right here. We can make music in our own hearts and the hearts of those immediately at hand. And, we can do it in a way that the larger institutions could never manage. When we do, we also shall be carrying the Light into the world.
I don’t know what St. Barnabas’ process of discernment shall yield. I’m anxious to see. I have confidence that it shall be ambitious and that there shall be a role for me in it. When our discernment is done and we pick up our lanterns, torches or whatever else we need for carrying the Light, I am confident too, that our hearts shall be filled with music. That music shall reinvigorate us and sustain us and our community.
Additional information on Howard Thurman may be found at:Howard Thurman Books
You may visit St. Barnabas’ web site at: St. B’s