The collect for the day asks that we “may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.” It’s not too often we think of ourselves as people who shine. Religious. Educated. Poised. Reasonably successful. Well-mannered, maybe – but shining? Wouldn’t that be rather embarrassing? I mean, how would it be if people pointed to us as we walked by and said, “Look, there goes one of those shining ones?” It’s an image we might more properly associate with science fiction movies than the real world.
Yet we do encounter people who seem to possess an inner radiance. I distinctly recall an encounter during my teens with an ancient anchorite with whom I came face to face during a Eucharist. This woman, who spent most of her days in the discipline of prayer and solitude, truly shone. We are told that Moses covered his face when he returned from his encounter with God at Sinai because his face glowed so brightly that ordinary people could not look upon it. Christ himself shone at his Transfiguration on the mountaintop. Such moments bring to mind the reality of the unimaginable glory of the love of God.
This love is offered to us in our baptism. It is free. We, like all our brothers and sisters in Christ, are called to listen for the Word that invites us to inhabit that love more deeply. It is an invitation to unlikely scenarios for our lives - God’s work is always beyond our wildest imagination. But it is an invitation to participate fully in the journey of life. As Christians we are called to embrace both sorrow and joy. We can do so because as Christians we share the firm conviction that, in God, all will be well.
Shining is not for exceptional people. Shining is for all those who choose to love. We are living religious science fiction!
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves