Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WALKING EPIPHANY in Holland, MI: neighborhood notes from Bruce Benedict

Welcome to a special Epiphany series of guest posts.  I've asked a few friends who live (literally) around the world to take a walk through their neighborhoods and share some of what they see through photos, videos and words.  Each one has selected from a variety of thoughtful prompts to consider the ways the Light has moved into their neighborhoods.  Will you join us?


Bruce Benedict
Holland, Michigan

Prompt: Local ground

The likeliest path to the ultimate ground leads through my local ground. I mean the land itself, with its creeks and rivers, its weather, seasons, stone outcroppings, and all the plants and animals that share it. I cannot have a spiritual center without having a geographical one; I cannot live a grounded life without being grounded in a place.

Scott Russell Sanders

Lake Michigan, 15 minutes from our house - January 16, 5:02pm

O Thou, far off and here, whole and broken,
Who in necessity and in bounty wait,
Whose truth is both light and dark, mute though spoken,
By Thy wide Grace show me Thy narrow gate

- Wendell Berry

This week my wife and I are waiting to meet our 41week old daughter. We are full of expectation and life and longing…longing to see the light reflect in her eyes…and I suppose to see our own life and light reflected in hers (all light emanating from the one true source). As new members of the west Michigan enclave we realize that light is a precious thing. But amidst the lake effect snow and eternal cloud blanket we’ve enjoyed the winter so far.  
Time spent walking the beach has been particularly effective at lifting our countenances and dusting off the dreariness of short days. The beach’s wildness in winter is exhilarating as you remember the soft waves of summer. It is a stark reminder that journey’s are always exciting and dangerous. How I wish the three magi had published a travel guide for their journey to meet Jesus. Some strange literary alchemy of Gulliver’s Travels, Bill Bryson, and the Travels of Egeria. I'm thankful for this season of Epiphany with the constant hum of ’Star in the East’ pulsing through my mind.

Bruce Benedict – Cardiphonia
Bruce Benedict is currently the Chaplain of Worship and Arts at Hope College, Holland, Michigan.   Previously he was the Worship and Community Life Director at Christ the King Presbyterian in Raleigh, NC.  His wife PJ is a performance/theatre artist and foster care advocate.

About one day after Bruce sent me this blog post, his daughter arrived. Welcome, baby girl!


What is Epiphany?

In Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, author Bobby Gross reminds us that the liturgical season of Epiphany brings the themes of light to a culmination.  In Advent we cry out with Isaiah for the pople who walk in darkenss to see the promised light.  In Christmas we celebrate the coming of that Light in the birth of Jesus.  In Epiphany we recognize that the gift of Light is for the whole world as illustrated by the arrival of Magi from the East to the Jewish home of Mary and Joseph.  

Throughout the daily readings in the Epiphany lectionary, we follow the early life and ministry of Jesus as He is revealed as the Son of God, appearing as light to a dark world.  He is the very God shining forth, manifesting the glory of God. Oftentimes the accounts are private affairs (Transfiguration), other times public (Wedding at Cana, Baptism).  All of them take place, though, in the places Jesus lived and worked, within the context of his relationships of family, friends, and followers -- the sick, possessed, poor, celebrating, drinking, seeking, religious, fearful, apathetic, discouraged neighbors.  
Jesus often follows these revelations (or “epiphanies”) with the command to “Go and tell”.  

“The one who shows himself to us asks us to make him known to others. The one who declaires, ‘I am the light o fhte world,’ says to us, ‘You are the light of the world.’ (Bobby Gross)

Lastly, two cultural practices are percolating in my imagination as I'm thinking about Epiphany:  the Blessing of the Home and the Beating of the Bounds. They are not universally practiced, but intrigue me in our attempts to live the visible life of Jesus-followers in our own neighborhoods.

Each of my guest posters selected a few prompts from a big ol' list I sent them (inspired by an overflowing folder of quotes I've saved from the Daily Asterisk).  They combined those prompts with photos and videos and observations from their own neighborhood.  I'm excited for you to follow along and please let me know if you'd like to contribute your own Walking Epiphany travel diary.


What about your neighborhood?

  • If I walked around the block in your neighborhood, what would we see (hear, smell, etc.)? 
  • What are some of the "creeks and rivers, weather, seasons, stone outcroppings, plants and animals" that share your neighborhood. 
  • Put another way:  If you were asked to coordinate a walking or biking tour of your neighborhood, what would you include in the tour?  Also, how would the season of the year affect your itinerary?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...