The Bishop's Letters
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
One of the great themes of the Epiphany season is light. Jesus, the Light of the world, has come to us and to all people. “In him was life,” John’s Gospel tells us, “and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).
During his ministry, Jesus said about himself, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12), and he also said to his disciples, “Youare the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Both are true, but they’re not the same. Jesus is a true source of light, like the sun. We’re just reflected light, like the moon. But as Christ’s followers we are called to bring his light to a darkened world.
Historian Rodney Stark explains how the light of Christ shone so brightly in the early Church and therefore why the Church was so effective in winning the Roman world to Christ:
“…Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear, and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world…Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fire, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services…For what they brought was not simply an urban movement, but a new culture capable of making life in Greco-Roman cities more tolerable” (The Rise of Christianity, p. 161).
Our ministries of compassion and care are vital if we are to be faithful witnesses to the Light. And one arena in which our witness is urgently needed is the sanctity of life. Again this year, our diocese is partnering with Anglicans for Life to offer a day of teaching about the beginning and end of life issues facing our culture and the Church. Called the “Mobilizing the Church for Life Summit,” it will be held on Thursday, January 26 at The Falls Church Anglican. Details and registration information are below in this newsletter.
Then, the next day, Friday, January 27, the day of the March for Life, we’ll have a morning worship service at The Falls Church Anglican at 9:00 a.m. and then go in chartered buses to the downtown Mall for the March for Life. (Details and information on purchasing bus tickets are below.)
If you’ve never been to a March for Life or if you haven’t been in a long while, you’re in for a treat. It’s not a protest, it’s a youth rally. Half a million people are expected, 75% of them under 25. It is a joyful, enthusiastic, hope-filled experience and it will encourage you as you stand for life.
I hope to see many of you there.