Running by Faith in the Light of Epiphany

By the Reverend Imogen Rhodenhiser

I’ve recently become the unlikely participant in something called a “running camp.” Each person receives their own training plan which covers the next (goodness gracious) five months, with the group gathering together for two runs each week. Before setting off for our first run, we were warned that we’d be running in the dark (with a start time at 6:30pm) and were advised to wear reflective clothing and headlamps to ensure people’s safety. It was also mentioned that the shop sponsoring the camp just happened to sell many such items should we need them.

Not wishing to spend a small fortune, I opted for a reasonably-priced vest, rigged myself up and set off jogging through downtown Birmingham. As it turned out, there was no guide person per say, and as soon as we turned off of Old Woodward towards the lake, it became clear to me why a headlamp might not be a ridiculous investment after all. Running downhill in the dark, I could not see where my feet were landing at all. I was lucky when I could spot the sheen of light on a puddle (since no one likes to do anything in wet socks), and resolved next week to look at the reasonably priced lights if I was going to continue this business of running in the dark.

Whether or not you feel athletically inclined, running in the dark seems an apt metaphor on any given day for the spiritual life. The light of Christ has come into the world, and yet we still fumble in the darkness, sometimes losing our footing, sometimes too afraid to take a step for fear of what might happen if we do. 

This is where the season following Epiphany has much to offer us. It offers us a chance to catch our spiritual breath following our long run together from the start of Advent until now. It allows us time to look up and see who our companions are on this journey, and to seek out a light that does not blot out the darkness but can most certainly guide us through it.

In this newsletter you’ll find educational, service, and worship opportunities to help you find the companionship and the light we all need to venture into unknown places. God grant us courage together to step out in faith, with our eyes and our hearts open to what awaits us.