Rector's Rhetoric - February 2015
After weeks of fog and cold rain during December and the arctic fronts of January sweeping through the plains, it’s nice to have a respite of warmth, if only for a few days. As my workplace is on the north end of the parish office, it’s always a little nippy back here, but I still believe I can find some warm words of encouragement to offer you in the new year. The best news, of course, is that God is with us, made manifest in the crèche and in the visitation of the Magi on a day, (January 6, to be exact) during a season we call Epiphany. The word means “manifestation” and becomes a keynote address to the peoples of the world that they are, and have always been, a part of the plan of God’s salvation.
Jesus has grown up very quickly in the last few weeks. No sooner had the Magi said their adieus, then Jesus was baptized. With the affirming words of his Father still ringing in his damp ears, and now discerning his vocation more clearly and completely, he extends the invitation to follow him to twelve very unlikely candidates. Now he will devote his time to healing people, a powerful sign of God’s inbreaking kingdom, and then invite Peter, James and John to join him on a mountain top to witness an event that will change their lives forever. That’s the Epiphany journey, an extension of what the wise men experienced, with the neat thing being that we all get to participate in being saved, called, healed and enlightened.
And wouldn’t it be a nice thing if we could just remain on that mountaintop?—enlightened, peaceful, content. It’s not that we can’t be all of those things, but unfortunately, the story plunges us from the light of revelation into the darkness of Lent, from the mountaintop into the valley, getting us in touch with who we are and the reason why Jesus’ arrival was so necessary in the first place. And so we fast, we pray, make token sacrifices to get to the heart of who and what we need to live, really live. Through the power of Resurrection and the Easter acclamation, we will find that the warm words of inclusion are extended to us once again, that God is with us, forever and always, no matter who we are or what we’ve done. God is with us.
So, if you happen to be feeling a little down with the long nights and the short days, with that nip in the air that chills to the bone, take heart, the promise of our God is ever before us. The days are getting longer and the darkness is slowly, but surely, leaving. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already.