The Rector's Column January 2016

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

          Well, so that is that.  Now we must dismantle the tree,
          Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
          Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
          The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
          And the children got ready for school.  There are enough
          Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
          Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
          Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
          To love all of our relatives, and in general
          Grossly overestimated our powers.  Once again
          As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
          To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
          To those who have seen
          The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
          The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
                                                 For the Time Being, W.H. Auden

By the time this newsletter reaches mailboxes, Christmas Day will be past, and the Christmas Season perhaps half over. We will be standing on the threshold of a new season-Epiphany-and the new secular year will have begun. It is so easy to return to our regular routines and rituals and rhythms rapidly after Christmas Day. The challenge, as the closing selection above from the magisterial poem oratorio by W.H. Auden indicates, is to allow ourselves to be transformed by the Incarnation of divine Love in human form not just for a few hours or a few days, but throughout the rest of life. It is trite to say, "I wish Christmas could last the whole year," and yet, that is precisely the call of the life of faith: to see the "actual Vision" of the Child come among us to bring new life, and not to walk away the same but, rather, somehow and indelibly new.

The Epiphany Season soon to begin is the time when we celebrate liturgically the unfolding revelation of Christ's identity and mission: from the visit of the Magi through his baptism in the river Jordan; from the manifestation of his first works of wonder to the Transfiguration on the holy mount, this season unpeels, layer by layer, just who this Jesus is: the Holy One of God. But Epiphany also affords us the opportunity to manifest just who we are, as well: to show how we will use this Time Being to reflect and shine with the light and love of the God who is within us and around us; to reveal that we do not think the presence of God within our world and our very lives is simply an "agreeable possibility."

How will we shine this month? How will we use the Time Being to grow, love, care, heal, and offer God's holy reign and peace?