We were waiting for the stop light to turn green when I noticed two young women, maybe sisters, maybe friends, crossing the street in front of us. I’ve often wondered why we, and me included, insist on wearing urban black from head to toe when walking anywhere in Oregon at night. It was only 5:30 p.m. but the darkness of night had descended. These two young women, however, were decked out in the most brilliant white overcoats I have ever seen. In the light of the street light they looked, well, really “CLEAN” like they were just off the rack at Nordstroms. I was pleased that the stop light took foreverrrr to change, giving me a chance to gawk at these two as they stepped onto the opposite curb, and headed toward the dark path that led up the hill. I thought they would disappear. Their heads, legs and feet did… but the coats marched on, side-by-side visible well into the darkness. I was amazed. Never have I seen something as reflective as those coats. Or maybe they were truly angels on a mission.
Sunday was Epiphany, the last of the Christmas season and a chance once more to give witness to the glory of God’s light featured in the Jesus’ birth, the Magi from the East and the ancient prophet Isaiah’s poetry about light shining in the darkness. It’s a star-struck season to be sure. But if the scriptures that tell the stories are looked at closely, without the sugar coating, we see that “darkness had covered the face of the world.”
It’s almost comical to read about the Magi lumbering into Herod’s mansion seeking to find the “newborn king of the Jews.” What were they thinking? Herod was known as the “evil genius of Judea” who killed his family and had zero tolerance for sharing power. To read Isaiah’s poetry in Isaiah 60 you get the feeling that the Exile of ancient Jerusalem’s leaders and wealth, and the scattering of the holy tribe to the four winds had no redemption in sight. But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? When all seem impossible and hopeless, when violence of extremism and school shootings crush our best efforts at “happy”, when poverty and homelessness overrun our sense of security and peacefulness, it’s the light of God shining through the darkness that is worth believing in, hoping for, and working toward.
The two angels walking from crosswalk to curb to the darkness of life’s path reminded me that we, as followers of Christ, are about reflecting the Glory of the Lord, in all that we do, and all that we are.
Blessing of Shalom (wholeness, wellness, prosperity in simplicity, and community) in the New Year – Bill