WEDNESDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
Lead us from non-being to being.
Lead us from darkness to light.
Lead us from death to immortality.
We look for light but find darkness,
for brightness, but walk in gloom.
We grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight.
If I say, "Let only darkness cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you,
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Blessed be your name, O God, for ever.
You reveal deep and mysterious things;
you are light and in you is no darkness.
our darkness is passing away
and already the true light is shining.
( United Methodist Hymnal )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Lucy: a Sicilian virgin saves Scandinavia from winter’s gloom
Lucy, or Lucia, was martyred in Sicily, during Diocletian’s reign of terror of 303-304, among the most dramatic of the persecutions of early Christians. Her tomb can still be found in the catacombs at Syracuse. Most of the details of Lucy’s life are obscure. In the tradition she is remembered for the purity of her life and the gentleness of her spirit.
In popular piety, Lucy is perhaps most revered because her feast day, the thirteenth of December, was for many centuries the shortest day of the year (the reform of the calendar by Pope Gregory VIII (1582) would shift the shortest day to the twenty-first or twenty-second of December, depending upon the year). It was on Lucy’s day that the light began gradually to return and the days to lengthen.
But how did this Sicilian martyr become so revered in the far north?
In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the winter solstice was called “Lussinatta.” Lussi, a female being with evil traits, like a female demon or witch, was said to ride through the air. It was believed to be particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. According to tradition, children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down and carry them away. As Christianity moved through Scandinavia, Lussi Night became Lucia Night and Saint Lucy was seen as a bringer of light, safety, and food.
In the domestic celebration of Lucia-fest, a young girl in the family dresses in pure white (a symbol of Lucy’s faith, purity, and martyrdom) and wears a crown of lighted candles upon her head (a sign that on Lucy’s day the light is returning) and serves her family special foods prepared especially for the day. In praise of her service, the young girl is called Lucy for the day.
Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "Ephesians," at verses eight and nine, we find this:
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
... for peace in the world.
... that we may be bringers of the light of Christ into the world and that the present darkness of our world will not overcome it.
... for those who are blind or who have poor eyesight and for all people, places and institutions that claim Saint Lucy as their patron.
... for the people of Malta and Saint Lucia who celebrate their national day today.
... for babies born with life-threatening conditions.
... for those killed or injured when a coach, carrying pilgrims honouring the Virgin of Guadalupe, crashed on a motorway between Mexico City and Puebla; for all road accident victims. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
From "Speaking of Faith" by Krista Tippett
But if I've learned anything, it is that goodness prevails, not in the absence of reasons to despair, but in spite of them. If we wait for clean heroes and clear choices and evidence on our side to act, we will wait forever, and my radio conversations teach me that people who bring light into the world wrench it out of darkness, and contend openly with darkness all of their days. They were flawed human beings, who wrestled with demons in themselves as in the world outside. For me, their goodness is more interesting, more genuinely inspiring because of that reality. The spiritual geniuses of the ages and of the everyday simply don't let despair have the last word, nor do they close their eyes to its pictures or deny the enormity of its facts. They say, "Yes, and …," and they wake up the next day, and the day after that, to live accordingly.
Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: illumine us, as you illumined your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the merits of his passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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