Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street | Arlington, Massachusetts | 781-648-5962

Holiness in a New Year

Dear Friends,

After listening to Bishop Tutu address a General seminary gathering, a student turned to Jim Fenhagen, the Dean, and said, “Today I have met a holy man.” When Jim asked him to elaborate a bit on what he meant he said “What I experienced in Bishop Tutu’s presence enabled me to experience the Christ in my own life. It was as if I was drawn into my own center by some magnetic force. But at the same time, I found that the world seemed different. The cry of human pain suddenly became less peripheral to my vision, and what had before seemed blurred and distant suddenly became focused. But the remarkable thing was that all this seemed to occur in the midst of quite ordinary events. It was not so much that Bishop Tutu was so special, but that he communicated something beyond himself.”

These are the dimensions of holiness — a sense of connection to God, a sense of presence–of availability and care for the other, whether that be the person standing in front of them, or the person suffering far away, and finally a sense of self knowledge which makes for humility. Holiness is what happens when we are touched by God and that touch shines through. “Shekinah,” the Hebrew word for glory, is literally translated, “the shining.” In the season of Epiphany we focus on that glory which is shining.

Of course, we expect to see that kind of shining in people with the stature of Bishop Tutu, but what about right here? Where have you seen the shining of God this past year? I have seen it in Alan’s gentle self giving. I have seen it in Chris  as he led us in prayer. I have seen it in Sara laboring over the details of budgets as she was readying herself for a trip. I have seen it in Jim G. twisted up in his angel wings, and Michele, Rose, and Pam as they were excitedly bringing their artistic creativity and imagination to our liturgy. I have seen it in the care which Gail and Jane gave in the two weeks before Christmas, as they worked to make the pageant a reality for the youngest members of COS. I have seen it in the pastoral care which Deborah Rose makes available. We cannot think that holiness is something for those who are made of better stuff than we are. It is something we are each called to.
And holiness is not moral perfection.

As you make plans for this coming year I hope you look at the shining that is coming toward you in those around you. And I hope that you will be looking for the particular ways in which you are and can be a blessing for others. I hope that you will be paying attention to the forms of prayer which will open you to your belovedness. As COS identifies its call as a community, it will mean that many need to come forward with the same willingness which has been in view in those named here. May this New Year be full of the shining of God within and among us.

Peace and Joy!



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