God is good. I have met the peace and beauty of God in living colour. By early January, we will have made it through the darkest time of the year, in which we strategically stave off the darkness with Christmas lights and decorations that sparkle and inspire. By then, many will have put away these sources of light and colour, as they have done their job once again to brighten and cheer us through the long winter nights. Some (like me) keep them up “just a little longer,” to keep the shadows at bay. It is delightful that in this part of the planet we celebrate our Christ, the Light of the World, in the time of the longest nights of our year. Then we gradually welcome back the sunlight, yearning and learning to see again the vibrant world around us.
Light is comprised of the spectrum of colours including red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet. It is a mystery that these combine and separate to give us the variety of experiences that inform our life together. Colours stimulate memory, understanding, communication, even problem-solving and strategizing. Colour makes us feel, react, engage. Sports teams and political parties use colours for identification and solidarity. Anglicans use colour in the seasons of our church year to express aspects of our faith. We even liturgically dress in particular colours to facilitate worship. “Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us, if we only look, and see.” (From Mary Oliver’s poem Look and See.)
From Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (1:18), we are encouraged to come and see with the eyes of our hearts, that we may know the hope of Jesus. This is not hard to do; it just takes practise and repetition, like those sports teams that proudly wear their team colours, and faithfulness, like the chancel guild who, with steadfast love and reverence, sets our Eucharist table week in and week out.
Lean into the practise of reverence in 2018. This requires a humbling of self, in order to see that which is greater, more lovely, more significant and more awesome than self. Look outwards and see: in the bigger picture, zooming out, what are the colours/ideas/people we gravitate towards? What about those we overlook? Are you willing to invest discernment into seeing those whom we unconsciously avoid? How can we resolve to see deeper, farther, and with the eyes of compassion and love? “Resolution” is a term we use to talk about our intentions and goals for the future; it also refers to the ability to distinguish between separate but adjacent objects or sources of light. Pay attention to the Source, our Creator, the Light of Christ that resonates, reflects, reconciles us even in our cellular structure. We are made in the image of God, who is love and light.
Hear this invitation to see with fresh eyes the God-given gifts around us in the diversity of the faces and hands of our neighbours. It is through the spectrum of individual and community practises, theologies, and faith expressions that we get the beautiful light of our Anglican Church of Canada. I urge you to explore. Be seekers. Resolve to get to know more fully the complexity of your parish family and especially your broader community. In this time of social upheaval and rapid technological growth, there is plenty of room in our faith tradition and our worship spaces for the spiritually hungry and the desperately lonely.
I share with you a word of caution from The Old Hermit’s Almanac, by Edward Hays: “Treat with great reverence all you encounter, for according to the Rainbow Covenant of God with Noah, the Divine One is with all humans and all creatures, large and small.” Look under rocks, behind the barn, in the bus shelters in the suburbs. Walk down to the overpass and use the eyes of your heart to see the child of God who is living under the bridge. See the newcomers and the refugees, the under-employed, the single parent, the over-worked one who has no time for family or church or community. Go see – and participate in what God is up to, in living colour!