ex tenebris lux

The Sunday ahead of us finds its place in the Church's calender as the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. It's not a snappy title. Even if we remember what Epiphany was about (three visitors to the stable at Bethlehem), we may feel that, four Sundays on, it is time to leave be, to look forward rather than back.

As the readings for this Sunday explore, once the clear light of the Christmas star fades - and fade it does - it is not so easy to find our way. The year settles into routine, and we loose the clarity we enjoyed when the year was bare, unmarked by arguments and wasted days.

I am spending my days, some wasted, others not, perched high at the edge of a glass-fronted library. My vision framed by the weathered red of St Peter's and the sharp gold of Molineux, I watch the light scan the sky. Today the clouds came down to touch the fields ahead of me. Yesterday, where the clouds lay today, the softest trace of green marked out low hills on the horizon. So although today I could not see them, I still knew they were there.

I thought back to an exhibition I went to at the Studio Museum in Harlem, of the artist Norman Lewis*. One canvas was almost entirely black, with the slightest line marking out a shape. It was a painting of a mountain that Lewis studied in Greece. He knew the lines of the mountain so well, he could paint it at night. Hidden from view, maybe, but still there.

Light for our eyes
Darkness to rest
Light of the way
In the dark we hold trust

*I am checking whether it was Norman Lewis. If so, this article would fit.