Bearing the Light of Christ
John the Baptist came before Jesus wearing camel’s hair clothing and a leather belt around his waist. He went before Jesus to prepare us for his coming. He came as a prophet to a people who had gotten complacent and selfish.
He asked the people of Israel to be baptized for both the forgiveness of sins and to begin again as a people of God. When we circle back around in Advent to John the Baptist, we come with longing for a new beginning.
The light we carry gets covered up by the stuff of our lives, the sins and the griefs and the grievances that build up like grime on glass. Every day in our daily prayers, and Sundays in church together, we confess our sins as a chance to begin again. We clean the glass so that our light can shine before others.
We clean the glass by confession and worship, but we stoke the light by our nearness to Christ in prayer and silence and by our nearness to Christ in the community of the church.
We are brightened spiritually when we come aside with Christ to abide with him for a while intentionally. This may be a period of prayer alone walking in the Canaan of the Desert garden on 40th Street south of Shea, or it may be gathering and praying with the Daughters of the King and fellow members at the Advent Quiet Day this Saturday. Nearness to Christ takes some attention and time. But it need not be complicated or lofty. In fact, the more humble we are in our ambitions with Christ, the more open we often are to him directing our spirits to his own.
We are also refreshed in our communion with other members of the church. We are encouraged as loners by American culture, especially in the West. But we need each other in a close and honest and loving community.
Ideally, we are in a small group for at least the first decade of our faith being serious in our lives, and later we may move on to more intense discipleship relationships with another single person or two who holds us accountable. That is why we have so many opportunities to study and be together in ministries ranging from reading the Bible together next year to serving on the Altar and Flower Guilds. I have been told of great support and healing shared by arranging the flowers as an act of worship and togetherness on a Saturday morning or hanging drywall with Habitat for Humanity.
When our glass gets clear and our nearness to Christ brightens our light, we become that beacon for others, even when we don’t realize that we are showing them the way. Christ can use us as lighthouses and guides in other people’s stormy moments and long nights. Let Christ use you this season of Advent.
Get clear. Shine for Christ. And join us as we come to Know, Love, and Serve Christ together at his church, Christ Church of the Ascension.