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BethanyAltarGuided to the altar by a member of the congregation, she felt her way to the lectern. Soft brown hair framed her face in large curls, and her blouse and skirt spoke of simplicity and care in dressing. As she placed her hands on the Braille Bible, she read in full voice, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

She had never seen light. But the way she lifted her chin when saying the word told us that she saw it with her fingertips. She knew light through her imagination in ways we would never experience. The adversity of blindness opened her soul to the meaning of the Epiphany.

This is the season of Epiphany beginning with the day of Christ’s revelation to all nations by the magi who came to worship him. Yesterday, the pastor’s message dealt with Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan followed by forty days of trial and temptation in the desert. In between, according to scripture, Jesus heard a voice from heaven saying, “You are my Son, Whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” Light and love followed by adversity, blessings followed by unexpected challenges – that was the theme.

Yesterday morning, the digital thermometer in our car read ten degrees. As Keith and I drove to church for early service, the sun rose over the Rockfish Valley. Heavy frost blanketed the earth, covering meadow grasses, leafless trees and farm fences. Light reflecting off ice crystals, sharp-edged like diamonds, glistened a symphony of dazzling white. The adversity of cold transformed into a magical scene.

As we stepped outside after the service, Keith said, “The frost is gone; it’s warming up.” The morning’s beauty had evaporated back into brown grass, trees and fences. I thought about the Epiphany and couldn’t help but see that adversity created blessings, too, and life in itself is miraculous. I lifted my chin and gave thanks for cold and light, blindness and sight.

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