“Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.” ~Theresa of Avila
We have become numb.
Our brains hear words and see images, and we know we should feel outrage, sadness, anger, and we have experiences so much of it, that we no longer respond. We don’t move. We feel helpless, confused, disconnected.
Here is the Epiphany we have all experienced:
We thought we were one kind of country, but actually, we aren’t the country we thought we were. We are not all on the same page.
We have made assumptions about who we are and what we believe and now we look around at our fellow citizens, some friends, some family and we realize we see the world so very differently. There has been a light shown on a truth we were all too naive to see, or did not want to see. The truth that we do not see concepts of democracy, freedom and human rights in the same way. The truth that we are more divided than united. The truth that we don’t trust each other. The truth that we are not all on the same page when it comes to words like “tolerance, justice, and equality.”
These are the epiphanies we must face.
We cannot deny that a Light has shown on the darkness. Do we believe that the light can overcome it?
Only if we, ourselves are the light. We cannot rely on some magical, ethereal light to show up and make it all better. If we want the world to be better than it is today, we must not be afraid to be the light in the world.
What does that look like?
We must start seeing each other as Christ sees us. We must stop putting people in categories of liberal, conservative, uneducated, educated, poor, rich. We must keep shining light on things we don’t want to see or hear. We must not be afraid to shine light in the darkness.
Be the Light of the world.
Where there are dark places, be the light especially there. Be the salt of the earth. Bring out the true flavor of what it is to be alive truly. Be truly alive. Be life-givers to others. That is what Jesus tells the disciples to be. That is what he tells his church, tells us to be. Love each other, heal the sick, raise the dead. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. ~ Frederick Buechner
The world has been dark before, and there have always been those willing to shine light even in the darkest places.
Somehow, during the Nazi occupation of Poland, someone managed to scrawl on the external wall of the Warsaw Ghetto:
I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine.
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.
I believe in God, even if I do not see him.
In our own national experience, in the midst of legally mandated segregation and deeply embodied institutional and social racism, Christian preachers such as Martin Luther King Jr. rose up, not only to challenge the law in acts of courageous civil disobedience, but also to challenge African American people to remember who they were and whose they were.
And the result—someone managed to write the lyrics, “My Lord! What a morning, when the stars begin to fall.” “Go tell it on the mountain.” “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.”
And James Weldon Johnson’s powerful words, “Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven sing, ring with the harmony of liberty. Let our rejoicing rise—high as the listening skies. Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.”
Let us refuse to be numb. Let us refuse to be indifferent. Let us refuse not to speak up and speak out. Let us get up to a high mountain and claim, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you” (Isaiah 60:1).
Arise. Shine. Let us be on our way.