Last week, after months of preparations and weeks of negotiations with city and county officials, our parish once again celebrated the Feast of Lights, the Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even in the midst of a pandemic when such celebrations were cancelled throughout the country, we came together, albeit much fewer of us, and prayed for God’s Light to shine upon the world. The eyes of the world were watching to see, not only if we followed the pandemic rules, but to watch our strong faith in God. I am extremely grateful to each of you that our community was able to maintain our 115 year old tradition of blessing the water, but we did it with peace, dignity, and faith. The world is watching us.
While we were celebrating the Light of Christ around Spring Bayou, violence was erupting in our nation’s Capitol. While we were singing God’s praises, thousands of our fellow citizens were rioting in Washington, D.C. I will not comment on political positions but I do find it not a little ironic that throughout the Orthodox Christian world (for those on the new calendar) the Light of Christ was being celebrated, while the darkness of the world, being cheered by the devil, was craving for attention.
The devil knows his time is limited, and I’m afraid we will continue to see increased darkness in our world, not just politically speaking, but morally and spiritually as well. Non Christian religions are gaining strength again, and after centuries of hiding and lurking in the darkness, they are peeking their heads out inviting us to leave the light and embrace the darkness.
As we heard in this morning’s Gospel, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4.16 - a quote from Isaiah 9.2) As we celebrated the Light of Christ being revealed to the world, it is time for us to shine the Light for those in darkness. The world, and more importantly our neighbors, are watching us. Our world in sinking into darkness and needing for us to step out of the water of Epiphany and share our Light with the world.
The final words of today’s Gospel lesson must become daily words from our lips. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4.17) Are you ready to share your light with the world? It is depending upon US to do OUR part!