Thursday, January 5, 2012

Unveiled Faces

This week has been full of predictions about, or at least musings on, the future:  New Year's resolutions, the new Anglican Ordinariate, winners and losers in the Iowa Caucus, Mayan prophecies for the end of the world, and so on.  I too have been reflecting, in my own self-involved way, on how different 2012 will be, although I admit that most of my time has been spent slogging through this week's General Ordination Exams, planning my ordination to the transitional diaconate, engaging movers, and trying to decide on paint colors for the curate's flat in the S. Clement's rectory.  In my free moments, though, I have been compelled by the overwhelming mystery of this new year that will bring so much change for me.  This mystery inspires both excitement and raw terror.  And it is probably no coincidence that I am writing about this experience on the Feast of the Epiphany, when we contemplate the manifestations of Christ's divinity.

It must have been terrifying and upending to realize that this human Jesus was also divine, and that because of this revelation, life would never be the same again.  When one's eyes are opened to such a profound truth, one is forced to live in a different way, to take risks, to relinquish control, and to let the mystery unfold.  One hopes that everything will turn out alright, that one will do the right things at the right moments, but the outcomes remain unknown.  Perhaps what the Epiphany is encouraging us to do is to muster the courage to trust that God will help us to live in this new way.  Just as we are bidden to see Jesus in a new and enhanced light, God calls us to see ourselves and each other in this new and enhanced light.  It may mean letting go of places of safety and comfort, but it may also mean that God is leading us into new places that will be even more nourishing and life-giving.  To stay forever in the same place is to halt the fundamental dynamic of living and, well, imitate death.  2 Corinthians declares that "all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit."  We can only trust that God knows something we don't, and that we will remain ourselves even as we are challenged, stretched, and changed.

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