The first church season of the New Year is called Epiphany. The name comes from a Greek word which means “appearance” or “manifestation.” It refers to the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the world. The first day of Epiphany falls on January 6, 2023, twelve days after Christmas and this first day is often associated with the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. Because of this it is sometimes called “Three King’s Day.” This connection is made due to the way that Jesus Christ was made manifest to the Magi through the star of Bethlehem.

As the light of the star led the wisemen to Jesus, light is also the focal symbol of the season of Epiphany. Think of the ways that light makes things manifest in our own lives. When you enter into a room and turn on a light, suddenly what is in that room appears much more clearly to you. You can see in a way you could not before. In the same manner, when the light of Christ enters our lives we can see more clearly God’s intentions for us and that God is ultimately a God of love and forgiveness who calls us to walk in that light.

Light is a powerful symbol which is generally seen as a positive image for our spiritual lives. However, in reality, the everyday light that we use as a tool can have a shadow side to it as well. The most ancient source of light was fire. Fire allowed people to see at night in ways they had not experienced before. But light from a campfire or a torch also comes with smoke and too much smoke can pollute the air and come with coughing and sickness making it hard to breathe.

Once electricity was invented and became a new source of light it seemed to be much cleaner than the old source of wood and fire. Indeed, it is cleaner on the surface, but if you dig down deeper you begin to see that the way it often gets produced can still be very destructive to our health and the health of our planet. Many power plants over the years have functioned on the burning of fossil fuels like coal or natural gas. These kinds of power sources have polluted the air in ways that have harmed people, especially the folks who live close to them. The emissions from these plants have also warmed our planet affecting the very climate itself and causing crazy, destructive weather patterns such as harsher hurricanes, more dangerous drought, and worse wildfires.

Light is a crucial part of our everyday existence, so we have made these trade-offs to have the comforts and conveniences we enjoy. But could the light be made better? One way it can be made better in a practical sense is by using renewable energy resources like wind and solar. In this newsletter you will learn how the “Green Team” at Holy Trinity has been meeting to discuss and make plans as to how we might make our use of light better by installing solar panels. Due to some recent programs and rebates the cost of solar has come down. While the initial investment up front will be large, the payback in terms of savings on our electric bill could make it worth it within 4-5 years.

Saving money is one of the big reasons the church council would like to do this project, but even more important, you might say is the way it will help us be better caretakers of God’s creation. By taking this step we will also be a witness to the community of how we seek to be good stewards of the gift of the earth we have been given.

Please mark your calendars to join us in person or online via Zoom for a special congregational meeting on Sunday, January 8 at noon, to hear about how we plan to pursue this project of solar panels for the church. We need your participation and approval to make this happen. As we enter into Epiphany let’s make the light even better!

—Pastor Erik