Thursday, January 5, 2017

Another One Tomorrow-Let it Be A Big One

Epiphany. Just the word piques my thought-juices.  Lately the word has become pedestrian, and I'm sorry about that. Like a great piece of music that is played too too too much so that we lose the magic of it and only yawn when we hear it. But Epiphany is a concise way to say that big concept- the dawn breaking, oh-my-gosh-I-never-thought-of-it-that-way, Aha! a proper noun.  And, thankfully, Epiphany isn't a one time thing. And most of the time, the big E reveals the same truth over and over in a slightly different way, hopefully in a way that will stick and stay. 

Tomorrow we mark the arrival of the wise men who came to worship Jesus. After the 12 days of Christmas, the Lutheran church begins the Season of Epiphany, and it lasts until the night before Ash Wednesday. The stories are told of the revelation of Christ to all nations through the magi, of Christ's baptism and transfiguration. It's a short season for so much mind-blowing theology. But it challenges me to examine my faith. And it reveals again to me that my faith is not a solid destination, but fluid seeking. 

Some things I will not know in this lifetime. But some things I believe to be true, and trust that God who is just and merciful covers me with grace I don't deserve, but am forever grateful for, regardless.

I believe God sent Jesus because the world is covered in darkness. Simply because we need a light. Because people have trouble knowing how to love each other and this planet of wonders where we are planted. God sent Jesus to show us that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of God.

So what sets Jesus apart from the soldiers and firemen who give their lives for others? What sets him apart from the medical people who give their lives to healing the sick? Many have spent their time on earth trying to be like Jesus, which is what he asked us to do.  He asked us to feed his lambs.  But I’m getting to the Epiphany part. What is the revelation, exactly?

Is it the star that guided the wise men? Maybe. Maybe God’s giant effort to make us aware of his love and care and purpose all wrapped in swaddling clothes is the essence of mercy. Maybe we need mercy more than we need the air we breathe. Because we can’t be perfect. And we fail at living up to our potential. Maybe because our hearts are covered in darkness is the very reason Jesus came. To give us hope. Hope that there is more to life, more to God, more to existence than we can fathom. That the sad parts are not the end of the story. And I don’t just mean heaven. But the sad parts of this world are not the final answer. Humans do rise above. Because we are created in the image of the one who sees endless, limitless good  and wants only, ever, good for us.

There is a light that shines in the darkness. And we are the moons of that sun. We have the birthright to reflect the hope, the mercy, and the love that shines in the darkness of human existence. The light itself is an Epiphany.

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