Living, as I do, in a nice house with large windows that offer a considerable view onto a vast open section of Great Pond (one of the Belgrade Lakes in central Maine), I have a familiar relationship with light. Now that I’m working more at home, during this wretched pandemic, I’m even more aware of light, its presence as well as its absence.
Every fall, I notice, with a sense of dread, the slow movement of the sun, day after day, setting much further away from my line of sight. Like lots of other people, I find the creeping shortness of the days discouraging. On those mornings when I get up early, like I usually do on Sundays to finish up a sermon and to get myself settled for the day, I often feel edgy and disconcerted by the utter darkness. How can it be so dark at 6:00 in the morning?
Now that we have turned that corner, and the light is becoming more apparent, and the days noticeably longer, life is looking up. Or, is it?
Today is January 7, 2021, at 8:00 in the morning. I look out at the clear, still day outside my window, and I fervently wish that the rest of my life felt even a fraction as clear, still and light.
This is my prayer: Please, let there be light.
Light for this country, after the violence and chaos of yesterday, as the Capitol complex was breached and rioters violently disrupted what should have been the ceremonial certification of the electoral results from the 2020 election, egged on by a callous and dangerous President.
Light for individuals, groups and communities who feel overwhelmed and unsure, in the midst of so much uncertainty and disruption.
Light for those who would just like to put their heads in the sand, thinking that wishing the problems away will amount to the problems actually going away.
Light for those on the frontlines of this long, long pandemic. Light for those who must deal with the ravages of Covid every day.
Light for those who long to touch and to connect with loved ones who are sick and perhaps dying.
Light for leaders who must communicate a fair and effective plan for the roll-out of the vaccine, and then act.
Light for those who feel compelled to live out acts of resistance—to masks; to ordinances meant to keep communities, and the individuals who live in them, safe; to practices that will help to reduce the pressure on those who work in health care; to simple acts of community kindness.
Light for those who cocoon themselves in echo chambers, enveloping themselves in ways that provide only the information they desire, rather than information that actually informs.
Light for those whose faith has become a weapon, instead of an opportunity for grace and blessing.
Light for those who resort to name-calling, rather than call people by name.
Light for those whose faith has become tired, shriveled and burdensome.
And, in a more personal way, I pray for light for the small congregation I serve that faces big issues, as we try to figure out how we are called to be church in the midst of significant challenges, particularly in relationship to our large building that refuses to keep itself maintained.
In this season of light, may we do what we must to perceive the light, for certainly there is light. We may need to look in a different way. We may need to find the boldness to explore new paths of perception, new paths of awareness, new paths of engaging in what it means to be people of faith, God’s people.