It seems like more than seven days have passed since we gathered on Christmas Eve, passing the Light of Christ from hand to hand, candle to candle, and then holding them together, as we gave witness to the coming of Christ. It is an extraordinary moment, standing there with everyone, singing Silent Night, Holy Night, and joining our hearts in worship. It is a striking moment, which changes how we see our ordinary moments.
As we passed the light from one hand to the next throughout the sanctuary, I wondered how often this actually takes place through the life of a congregation. How often do we offer the love of God to one another in the flesh without even realizing it? Is it monthly, weekly, daily? We are unable to quantify it, but it certainly happens more than we realize.
I wondered about taking that extraordinary moment and looking through it as a lens at our ordinary moments. The church’s weekly schedule revolves around gathering and sending, whether it is for worship, committee meeting, or service project. Each and every time we gather, we pass the Light of Christ to one another in small ways. In the same way that Jesus traveled with his disciples, teaching, discussing, questioning, eating, laughing, crying and sharing with them, we see the Light of Christ in our ordinary moments.
As we begin this new year, we might look at the life of the congregation through this lens. We might specifically read the church newsletter through this lens. The newsletter is a calendar, reminder list, and source of information; but it might also be a place for ministry opportunities, shared study and prayer, and source of renewal. In these pages, we might witness the places where the Light of Christ is passed from hand to hand.
I understand this is not the usual way we read a newsletter, but perhaps it is a good exercise for looking at our ordinary moments, our gathering and sending, differently. It might help us imagine the presence of God around us and the sacred work of the church, which is often times disguised as a committee meeting or Sunday School lesson. As we watched the Light of Christ pass from hand to hand, we were reminded that we discover the presence of the love of God in the flesh through our interactions with others. We discover the love of God in our practice of the love of neighbor.