Message from the Reverend Lynn Oldham
I am not exactly sure where the month of January has flown
off to. It seems like just a few days ago we celebrated
Christmas and Epiphany, and now I look at the calendar, and
Lent is rapidly approaching. The season of Epiphany, which
can have as many as nine Sundays, has only five this year,
partly because Epiphany itself was on a Sunday. Epiphany is
the season of light. After the winter equinox on December
21, daylight increases until the summer equinox in June.
And Epiphany’s lessons are full of the light of Christ’s
presence being made known in the world — Jesus’ baptism,
Jesus performing his first miracle, Jesus proclaiming in
the synagogue that “The spirit of the Lord is upon me,” and
that “Today scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,”
then ending with the culmination of his transfiguration on
the last Sunday of Epiphany.
During the season of Epiphany, we see the light, literally.
We are shown glimpses of Christ in his world, invited to
discern where his Light is in our lives, and asked to share
that light with others. And this season is almost over. The
church year moves quickly from Epiphany to Lent. We move
from experiencing the illumination of God manifest in our
lives to discovering how to live fully in the midst of the
Light, with our strengths and our weaknesses. We move into
the season of Lent.
I was reading an article the other day that talked about
edge habitat. It was not a phrase with which I was
familiar, but quickly felt an understanding of the phrase.
Edge habitat is the biological space between two
ecosystems. For us it might be where the wetlands meet up
with the housing complexes, or where a forest meets up with
a meadow. What was quite clear in the article was that life
is abundant in edge habitat; more species live there than
in either of the adjacent ecosystems. Life is also
precarious. Species from both systems can live in a fragile
balance or find their sustenance suddenly gone as forest or
cultivated colonizer takes over.
This idea of edge habitat struck a chord in me as I was
contemplating life lived in Christ. Embracing the light of
Christ in our lives provides us with many edge habitats —
places where we seek to strike the balance of new life in
the midst of the old. We also find ourselves in the midst
of process, adapting to an environment embedded deeply in
the Light. The Gospel lesson for first Sunday in Lent is
always the temptation of Jesus in the desert. And just as
Jesus discerns exactly who he is called to be and what he
is called to do, Lent is a time for us to do that as well —
to discern and respond to the Light of Christ in our lives.
On Wednesday, February 13th, we begin our Lenten season
with the imposition of ashes. We are reminded that we are
but dust and to dust we shall return. Living in Lent is
about living in edge habitat, striking the right balance
for a new vision of life to flourish. I invite you to
consider how you might best do that as we get ready to
enter this next season of the Church year.
Peace to you,