The world is upside down here in Argentina.
Epiphany in Canada is celebrated in the middle of winter right after Christmas. It is cold and bleak and the ground is covered in a blanket of snow and cold January winter winds blow. We romanticize about the month by imagining sitting in a comfortable soft chair by a fireplace wearing wool socks with our legs up underneath us, drinking a cup of hot chocolate with a loved one by our side. In January the days are short. The sun rises late and sets early. It is an opportunity in Epiphany to emphasize Christ as the warm bright light of the bleak dark world that exists; the Messiah the light of the world has come!
Rev Greg Kiel
Av. Fontana 439,
9200 Esquel, Chubut,
In Argentina it is totally different. Here, January is the middle of summer. It is the best time of the year. It is summer holidays. The sun is high in the sky and the days are long. The sun rises early and sets late. It is very hot and everyone goes to the beach and soaks up the sun. We go swimming in the cool refreshing waters of the rivers, lakes and oceans. We romanticize the time by imagining that we are sitting on a beach in a lawn chair under an umbrella, drinking a tall cool iced tea (perhaps beer) topped off with one of those quaint little stir sticks and a lemon hung on the side of the glass. We can use the brightness of the sun to emphasize Christ as the light of the world. The coldness of winter is gone and we revel in the warmth of the sun, free from the houses that had us trapped all winter long. One could depict the freedom that Christ, the light of the world, represents.
Christ does turn the world upside down. Christ makes possibility where there wasn't any. Christ puts fish in the fisher's empty net. Christ makes fishers into fishers of people. Christ makes a cold heart warm. Christ makes the sinner repent. Christ is the light of the world.
In the Patagonia we are trying to share the light and hope of the world with the Aboriginal Mapuche Nation. They live in a world where there is no hope. Recently I spoke with a family in Cushamen. Their pride is their oldest daughter who is very good in school but now she cannot find a way to continue her schooling. The residential school she had been going to only goes to grade 9. She has finished her studies and it is simply too expensive for her to go elsewhere for studies. She informed me that she will no longer be going to school and that she will continue to live with her parents in a two room dirt-floor shack. I am not sure of her future and I know they are all disappointed. Their romantic idealisms of life have been shattered.
But they smile anyway and say it is okay. Surely, Christ, who sent fish to the fisher's net can help. Surely the disciples of Christ can help. Surely you can help us to shed the light of Christ to the people here who live without hope or possibility. Poverty takes away hope, it takes away opportunity. Help us to share the hope, the hope that we all share in Christ Jesus. Christ is the light of the world. May Christ's light shine in our lives so that Christ may shine in the lives of the Mapuche people and to all the people of the world who need the hope that we have found in Jesus Christ.
Messiah, light of the the world, come!
-- Rev. Greg Kiel