Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Wild Epiphany

It’s been a wild Epiphany so far. Well, maybe not wild, but it has been unusual. January 6 is Epiphany Day, when Christmas Season is over. On this day we read about Matthew’s versioin of the visit of the Magi to see Jesus. They follow a star. So we used January 7 as that day, Epiphany Sunday. It would have ordinarly been Baptism of the Lord Sunday, which comes usually as the first Sunday after Epiphany.

We celebrated January 14 as Baptism of the Lord Sunday because our congregation has such a good time renewing their baptismal covenant. It’s very moving to see the whole congregation come forward to the baptismal font. They either look at the reflection in the water, touch the water, or put some water on their forehead, then they kneel at the altar. It’s an exciting, moving, time when we remember our baptisms.

And, in the church’s historical sense, to remember is much more than just call to mind. We do that, of course, but to remember is to enter in to the experience. We can’t be re-baptized; that’s a once in a lifetime experience, but we can experience again the newness of grace and love. While we sing Amazing Grace, we all come down to the altar. Did I say that it’s very moving?

Then, the Season after Epiphany revs us and on the next Sunday, January 21, Jesus is out there calling disciples: “Follow me.” And last Sunday, Jesus was in synagogue teaching away when a man with demons shouts: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” Mark says it’s astounding and amazing. This is a new teaching that stills the voices within us that possess and destroy us.

Even in Worship, we are accosted by the demons, and the devil. Maybe especially in worship, we are under attack by Satan. But, Jesus intrudes into our lives and stills the storms and the demon voices, and sets us free.

I just saw the movie: “The Greatest Showman”. It was fastastic story about P. T. Barnum and his circus. He chooses a young man to become his partner. The young man comes from a very wealthy and landed family. The young man says: “If I go with you, I risk losing everythying.” Barnum says: “Yeah!! And you might just find out what it’s like to be free.”

Come with me, says Jesus, and you will be free. Jesus is amazing, says Mark.

What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus answers: “I have everything to do with you, everything!”

In Epiphany, Jesus and his kingdom move out intot he world. The light of the world lights up the world, and calls us to go with him.

There are only a few more Sundays left in Epiphany Season. I said it was wild this year. It happens fast and then it’s gone, and we’re in to Lent.

Everybody’s saying how the church is passing away. But, I say, Jesus is still out making himself a people. Is Jesus talking to you today: “I have everything to do with you!”

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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