Snow fell last night. Washes of salmon, siena, and a kind of tangerine orange paint the white blanket lying across lawns and street, while those same colors, more concentrated and vibrant, sear the sky. I had strolled over to the window to check the weather, and I am arrested there, my cup of hot tea forgotten, whatever I had been thinking or planning lost.
Here is the Word spoken at the beginning of time, stretching in beauty across the heavens, a kind of choral shout. Here it is reflected on the world’s empty surface — and here, more hidden, it is reflected on my heart. My hand itches to pick up a paintbrush, but by the time I do that something new will be happening in the sky, and even in my heart the moment will have passed. Best just to stand here — and reflect.
“Oh, my Beloved,” I whisper. The light comes, once again, into the world. The Universal Christ is manifest.
I have a liturgy of my own design on file at my church for my funeral. The prologue to the Gospel of John will be the creed. This is my Christology, reflected, in those moments when I am at my best, in what I do and say. Let my life be measured by its truth.
It is here on earth, in this world of corruption, evil, sorrow and darkness, that Christ meets us and claims us. When we receive him — when we see everything that exists in the light of a transformative love — we become children not of the desires and needs of the ego but of God. We are lit up, like candles.
The light of Christ spreads through little, steady, daily interactions: a word I say to my daughter, a look of encouragement I give to a friend in distress, simple acts of generosity to strangers. My rule of life helps me focus on my candle-like nature. My study, fellowship with others in my faith community, reflection, and my regular participation in the Eucharist all conspire to wake me up to the moments when the light of love might shine out of me. This is my true ministry.
In my funeral liturgy I will be speaking one last time to those I love. I want to say what I most deeply understand to be true. It’s mind-boggling that the Word present from the beginning of time entered the darkness of the world. It’s astounding that Christ is manifest in all the moments that arrest me and make me wonder.
The sky has lightened now, and it’s time to make breakfast. Our daughter is visiting from Florida. My tea is cold.
The flame of Christ’s love burns in the darkness and confusion of the world. We can orient ourselves to it any time, anywhere. God has entered history, and we know who God is because the incarnate Son has shown us. The universal Christ continues to manifest the light.