Grace and Peace,
It is amazing how our minds work. The mind brings to our attention those things that the mind senses we need to know about, like a deer that just walked into the road; and at the same time the mind filters out much of what is occurring around us, like most of the scenery that we drive past. This filter system assures that we have the information we need, but not more than we can handle.
The filtering is generally pretty effective, but it also numbs us to the wonders that are around us; we can become oblivious to some of the gifts that surround us.
Over the past month or so, I have become aware that the winter sun patterns are changing how the sun interacts with our amazing stained glass windows. There have been times that the warm gentle panes of yellow glass have irradiated with light - they glow in a way that does not occur at other times of the year. During the summer, the sun is too high in the sky for this to occur; what a gift the winter light has given us.
I have also noticed recently the amazing gift of music that we share at St. John’s. There are congregations who sing each week accompanied by the music of an iPod; no choir, no organ, no music director. Our 8am service is intentionally without music, and the opportunity to attend the 10am or 5pm services with music is available. The gift of music at St. John’s can always be shared. But without noticing, the music can fade into the background, and our worship would be the less because of that.
A few noticed, to the extent that they commented, that during Advent the altar was adorned with greens and not flowers. This was done in keeping with the anticipation of the season, and now the beautiful flowers have returned; I wonder how many noticed the flowers this past week.
The over-stimulation of Christmas has passed. The stark beauty of winter is here. This is a wonderful time for the Epiphany light to illumine our world so that we can see, and appreciate, what is around us.
Mindfulness is not simply a new-age fad; it is recognizing the beauty that surrounds us, and it is seeing God in the world, and the people, around us. Mindfulness is taking the Epiphany light and letting it shine in our lives so that we are more aware of the gifts that we have been given.
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(Collect for The Epiphany)