It all happened on Epiphany.
New parents held their infant child close, keeping him fed and warm, watching him breathe, smelling his head while he slept. The moment was so full of love and hope, yet even then then his parents knew the way forward was not going to be easy.
The world still pressed in on them, their families and communities passed judgement of concern and condemnation. At the same time, far, far away, a group of magi had already left home, following a Star, a hunch, a nudge that history had its eye on them. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, in the halls of power, Herod clung to power. He looked to the religious and political institutions that were intended to order and organize society to maintain his power. Tensions were high; tensions had been high for some time. Still the baby had been born. Still the Star illuminated their way.
It all seemed to hit close to home yesterday.
We received beautiful pictures of families chalking their doors, even the bee hive in the BeeLoved Garden was chalked with 20 + C + M + B + 21. In preparation for this newsletter, I tallied the full amount given over four months of Community Impact Challenges and requested checks for the last two recipients, amazed by the abundance present and presented in those gifts (check out the report below). Plans began to emerge to participate in a national memorial service for victims of Covid-19 on January 19th. Meanwhile in Washington, the struggle for power erupted into violence, the symbols of White Supremacy and hate carried into America’s halls of power. Georgia continued to count votes, the results of runoff elections became clear. The Critical Care Team met at our usual time, stunned, prayerful, we continued to assess masks for singers and a revised the Health Affirmation form. The Epiphany devotional was released at sundown, West Raleigh’s Community Star, rising over the corner of Vanderbilt and Horne. The More Light Task Force met to continue plans for two all-church Sunday school gatherings at the end of January. Late into the night, Congress certified the results of the Presidential Election.
The Star illuminates it all – the best and the worst of humanity, the promise of God, born among us, the power struggle, violence, fear and hope. Having visited Jesus in Bethlehem, witnessing for themselves the Christ child, the wise ones went home by another way, refusing to be complicit in Herod’s plans. Light shines. The Baby cried and grows among us, full of grace and truth. Christians and the Church of Jesus Christ sit with this moment, buoyed by the joy of Christmas, praying for the courage to follow the Star into Epiphany.
May the Spirit lead the Way,