Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

Epiphany Message from Bishop Lane


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The thing I’ve discovered over a lifetime of following Jesus is that, despite our dependence on God, despite our belief that God’s purposes will be accomplished with or without us, we nonetheless have a role in the renewal and restoration of the world. God always invites us to take part, to join God in the work of building a new world.


This is the final message of the Incarnation. Jesus has been born among us, the light has been kindled in the darkness, and the very next thing the Church teaches us is that we are called to share the light. The light that was kindled in Bethlehem has also been ignited in our hearts, and we are invited to carry it out into the darkness of the world and of our neighborhoods. We are invited to be the light in all the dark corners of the worlds we inhabit, to be ourselves the candles that illuminate…


It’s easy to trivialize this teaching, to make it the subject of children’s choirs - This Little Light of Mine, I’m going to let it shine…


But there is really nothing trivial about the teaching. Carrying the light is hard work. Each of us is invited to find the words, find the actions, find the courage that allows us to make the world a brighter place: not only speaking a kind word but opposing a hateful word; not only offering our own generosity but seeking justice for the poor and the marginalized, to bring them into the light. To carry the light means to be seen, to be a beacon, to draw others to the light.


That’s never been easy work. For me, it’s the work of a lifetime. Sometimes the best I can do is to be kind, to offer a kind word. But other times I can do more. I can be an advocate. I can work for change. I can function according to the values of God’s kin-dom.


We marvel at the saints and heroes of our faith who took the good news of God’s love to distant and dangerous places. But we don’t need to look very far from our homes to find places where light is needed, where the love of Christ needs to be felt.


My prayer for all of us this Epiphany season is that we will ask God’s help in bringing our light to places near us. Perhaps we can’t do that alone. Perhaps we’ll need a partner or a team. Perhaps we’ll need the support of our churches. But this is the joy and the mystery of Epiphany: that God has called us to take part, to join with God in making the world new. May each of us find ways, large and small, to shine the light of Christ in our lives and in our places.