Dear Friends at St. Paul’s,
I want to thank you all for the extra joy during Christmastide of receiving the call to come among you to serve. With the passing of the Christmas season and the turn of the year, the winter can seem particularly bleak and cold, but it is a source of warmth and joy this year to begin sowing seeds for the ministry we will share, and to make specific plans to come to Albany. I’m thrilled that it’s worked out in such a way that we can celebrate Holy Week and Easter together to mark this new beginning.
This year in our Church calendar, Easter comes late (Thanks be to God!), which means Lent, in turn, starts late, and the Season of Epiphany is just about as long as it ever gets. During Epiphany Season, the focus of the Church’s lessons and feasts is on the ways in which Jesus is revealed and manifested as Messiah, as God-with-us: we teach about Jesus’ miracles like turning water into wine at the Wedding in Cana, and feeding five thousand with five loaves, and we celebrate revelations of Jesus’ true identity among us, as at the Presentation in the Temple, or the Transfiguration on the Mountain. With such an astounding revelation—that God is with us in Jesus—it takes the imagination a little while to catch up with the news. All these signs and miracles point us to the discovery of what is now possible in this new relationship, and they’re meant to help us start, and continue, in a new kind of life and a new way of looking at the world.
As we go through this season of Epiphany, set in the middle of a dark and cold world, we can bring some warmth and light by seeking out and celebrating the miracles that we see and experience, even if they seem small, or merely coincidental. We can also let our imaginations expand to trace out all the new possibilities that these miracles bring with them. As I imagine the months and years ahead, it is all potential, and limitless possibility. Let those possibilities fill your imagination, too. The Spirit will share glimpses of what is possible with each of us, each in our own way. Gather these up and celebrate them and share them. Together, we can piece those glimpses together into a vision of a whole new kind of life, where all of the potential and possibility that God has gifted us with can become realized experiences of grace. I can’t wait to hear all the stories of the miracles and mysteries in your lives, and to learn what new things God has in store.
Your servant in Christ,