Sunday, January 08, 2012
Thy Perfect Light
It’s amazing the things you see when you actually start looking.
I had this experience on Friday when I went to the noon mass at Trinity Church.
It was Epiphany, the official end of the holiday season and I had seen several discarded Christmas trees on the sidewalks in my neighborhood that morning. The lights would be coming down next.
Epiphany comes from the Greek ephiphaneia meaning “manifestation” or “striking appearance" and during the sermon, Rev. Mark spoke about the importance of the star that the Three Wise Men followed through the desert.
He encouraged us to “find the star with your name on it.”
“You can also be the star,” he told us.
I love the whole idea of stars and light since I tend to sink into dark moods if I’m not careful. But things got really weird when I happened to look up over the altar to the stained glass windows depicting Jesus and several saints.
I looked a little bit higher and I saw…a star.
It was actually a star-shaped light, but the point is that I have been going to Trinity for at least four years now and I’d never seen the star until Friday.
Am I really that unobservant…or is this star a new decoration? Either way, I found it to be very inspirational.
At the end of the service I went to greet Rev. Mark and wished him a Happy New Year.
“Are you going to make this year better than last year?” he said, pumping my hand.
Well, he got me so motivated, so enthusiastic that I completely forgot where I was and to whom I was speaking.
“Oh, hell, yes!” I declared.
I immediately slapped my hand over my mouth. Did I just say a bad word to a priest…in church? Yeah, I kinda think I did…
If I had said “hell” back in Catholic school I’d be seeing stars, all right, as the nuns would mercilessly pound me into a coma. That would be a genuine striking appearance from which I would never recover.
But I was several light years away from those bad old days and instead of getting Inquisitional on my butt, Rev. Mark put his head back and laughed.
I was embarrassed but relieved and I asked him about the star over the altar.
“Is that something new?”
“Oh, no,” he said. “It’s been there for years.”
“But I just saw it today,” I said.
“That’s what I’m talking about!”
I left church feeling pretty good. I had found my star, gotten a good laugh, and narrowly avoided excommunication all in less than an hour.
That’s the kind of productivity I want to bring into the New Year.