January Pastor's message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

In my condominium I have two big windows, one in the living room and one in the master bedroom. Each one has a venetian blind. The blind in the living room gets opened and closed each morning and evening, respectively.

But the blind in the bedroom hardly ever gets opened. It’s because I mostly go in there to sleep and change clothes. When I do, my light source comes from turning on a switch or the remote control for my television set.

One bright, sunny December Sunday, I decided to get out storage bins and sort through some things. I’ve been on a desperate search for old black and white family photographs that somehow disappeared in my move here.

So I placed them on the bed and went to flip on the light fixture above it. Noticing a more natural, reliable source filtering through the blinds, I pulled them all the way up. The room was immediately awash in brilliant sunshine.

My eyes were drawn to the top left hand side of the window and a stained glass creation, hand-crafted by a member of St. John’s, Bill Jansheski. It is a strikingly beautiful portrait of Mary holding her baby, Jesus.

Its radiance took my breath away. Their beauty that was visible to people on the outside could be seen from the inside. They had been watching and waiting patiently for me through some of the darkest, hardest times of my life.

Do you remember the song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that goes, “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you!”? Well, that’s how our Lord and Savior, perfect in every sense of the word, feels about you and me and all people, as imperfect as we are.

This is especially so when we try to shut out the Lord’s light and his love, intentionally or unintentionally.

Where can I go from your spirit?

Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there;

if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning

and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light around me become night’,

even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is as bright as the day,

for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:7-12)

One of the most amazing things about my stained glass window is that you can see it after dark, through the cracks in the closed blinds. That Sunday night, when I went to bed and turned off all the lights, the eyes of Jesus and Mary were still upon me.

My brothers and sisters, in this month of January, when the daylight hours continue to increase, let’s be more aware of and thankful for the light that will never decrease.

For, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

May you all be blessed with a happy, hope-filled and radiant New Year!

In Christ’ love,

Rev. Mark

Rev. Mark Katrick