Jesus Christ is God’s light in the darkness. Thus, we want nothing more than to see and know Christ. How shall we find him?

To find the light in the darkness, we must first find the darkness. It surrounds us. But we search clumsily because we instinctively avert our eyes from darkness as from a blinding light.

Jesus himself told us where to look: among the hungry, thirsty, alien, vulnerable, sick, and imprisoned. From their dark predicament, their faces will reveal the light. Seek the child born in a manger, not a resident of mansions and towers. Seek the servant, not a self-promoter. Seek the crucified, not one above it all.

But how shall we see the light of Christ in the lowly? Neither by passive spectatorship nor by armchair analysis; the light of Christ appears to those who step into the night with the lowly. We see by doing. When we give food, water, welcome, clothing, balm, and companionship, the giving opens our eyes, and we see Christ.

As for those who abide in the artificial light of worldly glory, cast a compassionate eye on them. See through the accoutrements of power to their spiritual nakedness, their vulnerability. Offer to them according to their need, and do not be discouraged if they refuse. The light of Christ will shine in God’s time. The same goes for the poor but proud. It is easier with the poor in spirit, those who know their poverty and need. And the greatest challenge may come in front of the mirror.

Remove the mask you made to face a dark world. Cast a compassionate eye on yourself. Offer yourself food, drink, welcome, encouragement, strength, balm, and friendship. Allow yourself to receive the love God first gave you in Christ. Let the light shine. Not only you but the world will see.

Lord, give me a compassionate heart and eyes to see your light in myself and others. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
January 1–6, 2019
Scripture Overview

As we approach Epiphany Sunday, we think of the coming of God into the world as the coming of a brilliant light—a light that shines into dark corners, a light that shines on people who dwell in darkness. The light of God brings with it the power of restoration to a people in exile. It shines transforming power on forgotten ones who will now arise and shine. God’s presence brings light and well-being. At this time of year, we may desire God’s light to shine upon us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Matthew 25:31-46. Where do you see darkness in your community? How can you shine Christ’s light?
Read Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14. Consider the differences between fairness, justice, and mercy. Who around you suffers when fairness wears the cloak of justice? How can you turn the situation toward mercy?
Read Ephesians 3:1-12. Was there a time when you thought the gospel was not for you? What has changed?
Read Matthew 2:1-12. We can decipher mystery through light, mercy, witness, and love. How is Christ revealed to you this Epiphany?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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