March 24, 2019

THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT

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Christ Be Our Light: Week IV

Follow our Lenten theme and review past reflections on our website www.stphilip.org

The Beautiful Light of Broken Places
When a mirror is broken, one often hears the superstitious phrase, “Oh, seven years of bad luck.” As believers in the light of Jesus Christ, we do not see our world as a place for luck or even as one of good or bad fortune. We are people who see with the “eyes of faith” meaning, that our world is a place of God’s gifts, blessings and Providence at work. St. Paul reminds us that, “all things work together for good for those who love God. Actually broken glass can be quite beautiful, as is demonstrated in the stained-glass windows that grace the main entrance wall of our church and Narthex (lobby) area.

The rich colored, jeweled tone glass has a French name, Dalle de verre, which means – thick slabs of glass. Like most things, the French name is more beautiful. The origin of Dalle de verre glass dates to the Byzantine Empire whose love of mosaics was channeled into the creation of similar patterns in colorful windows. The style went out of fashion until French artists in the 1920s revitalized the art form. Pioneer Auguste Lobouret brought this form of stained-glass to Canada after World War II and to the United States in the early 1950s. 75 years ago, when this glass was chosen for our church, it was – pun intended – cutting edge!

The secret of the beauty of Dalle de verre stained glass is that the glass is broken. Each individual glass slab is artfully chipped and cracked. These seeming imperfections, called facets, enable light to be radiated in multiple ways that emit brilliant and dazzling color tones. Another secret of their iridescence is the contrast of the thick dark frame surrounding the glass with the bright glow of the variated light shining through. In today’s Gospel, Jesus points out to his followers that all people, like our stained glass, are a bit broken and chipped. Life’s challenges, our sinfulness and imperfections are our broken glass places. The good news is that Christ is the Light that shines through our broken places. The point of the parable of the fig tree is the assurance that God’s light shines again and again and always through us. We are always given new chances to invite Christ to be our light in prayer, in the sacraments and in our compassionate care for one another.

This is indeed good news but what does it mean in a practical way? An example of our brokenness enabling new light to come forth from us is loss and grief. When we have been hurt by losing a job, our health or a loved one we feel chipped, cracked open and broken. Inviting Christ into our pain and broken places through prayer shines the light of God’s comfort, healing and strength into us and through us. Suddenly we radiate a new light of understanding and compassion for others who share our experience. Through the grace of Christ’s healing light, we become light. Not only do we shine in a new way, but we radiate compassion and understanding. We become dynamic bearers of light willing and ready to shine to the dark places in other people’s lives by becoming love in action.

Like the windows in our church, the light of Christ can shine through our broken places, creating beauty through our loving words and deeds. What is the most beautiful light created through our broken places? The light of empathy that shines with compassionate acts of love for others.

Prayer is the key to inviting the light of Christ to shine in our lives. As you leave Church today you will be given a Christ Be Our Light Prayer Card.

The card pictures our beautiful stained-glass window Christ Be Our Light image on one side and our Theme Prayer on the reverse side. Use this card for your prayer this week. Reflect on the dark, cracked, broken or chipped places in your life. Pray the prayer and invite Christ to be your light of healing. Next ask God to reveal to you how you might be light for another person. What action will you take?

Lenten Prayer
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine in the darkness.
We shine your love,
Placing our hope and trust in you.

Mirrors seldom break. We break often. The good news is that however cracked or broken we may be, God uses those facets to shine the light of God’s Providence. Our brokenness is an opportunity for Christ’s light to heal us and to shine forth from us. We are all most beautiful when we shine with compassionate acts of love for others. Be Christ’s Light.

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