Jan 2018 newsletter

A Prayer for Epiphany and the New Year…

May this holy season be for each of us

A time of moving beyond what is “reasonable”

And toward the star of wonder;

Moving beyond grasping tight to what we have

To unclenching our hands and letting go,

Following the Light where it leads;

Moving beyond competition toward cooperation,

Seeing that all humans are sisters and brothers.

Moving beyond the anxiety of small concerns

Towards the joys of justice and peace.

May the transforming acceptance of Mary and Joseph,

The imagination of the shepherds,

And the persistence of the wise men

Guide us as we seek the Truth,

Always moving toward the Divine promise.

Always aware God can be hidden in the frailest among us,

Always open to the unexpected flash of Grace,

To the showing forth of that Love that embraces us all."

Adapted by J.M. Deren from "Blessings and Benedictions," by W.L. Wallace in Shine On, Star of Bethlehem, CAFOD, 2004.


Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany are seasons to “live the joy” of our faith. Though I admit, it isn’t easy to do. We hang on tightly to what is “reasonable,” realistic, and practical.

We struggle, when we are trying to find space for the joy God intends for our life. The joy is crowded out by the anxiety of trying to do everything the way we think we are supposed to do to obtain an elusive perfection. It is a dangerous trap when our sense of joy is wrapped up in what we think we are “supposed” to do and be.

I hear these conversations when I talk with “church folks.” To be a church we must have a building. We must have a choir and organ. We must have pews that are full. We must have a balanced budget. We must have traditional programming that meets the needs and expectations of the people who are here and those we want to be here. Congregations are running themselves ragged to hang on tight to what they have and what they think they should be.

I hear similar conversations when talking with just about anyone regarding life circumstances as a parent, grandparent, boss, worker, student or retiree. We are constantly comparing ourselves to the celebrities or characters on TV, in a magazine ad, or those whom we follow on Facebook. We struggle to move beyond competition to cooperation, when we are all holding up our realities to unrealistic images of what we think we should be.

As I reflect on the ways we can “live the joy” God intends for our lives, I echo the word of the prayer…May we glance upon the star and wonder where we can experience the ways God’s joy shines through the cracks and spaces of our fragile lives;

May we join with Mary and Joseph in their acceptance of themselves and who God created them to be;

May we imagine with the shepherds that God speaks to each of us today in unexpected flashes of grace.

May we be persistent with the wise men to reflect the abundant love of God’s grace that embraces us all.