Season of Epiphany
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Being called, recognized, affirmed, named is at heart the desire of every human being. It is in effect, to be loved. But, it is what we do with it, that remains the most important recognition and remembrance of each of our lives.
We may well never be fully known by our neighbors, friends or families. We carry a lot of things, experiences, insights, dark and enlightening moments that few really know about or could even perceive in us, and there are even times when we are quite unaware of the transformative moments which direct us to significant milestones and unique awakenings which affect the very depth of our being.
The writers of scripture claim, that it is God alone who permeates our very being, who knows us, even when we are being knit together in our mother’s womb, a God who by the spirit forms us and breathes life into us and gives us our unique character and being. Rejoice and be glad. We are not here in lieu of another, or as anything lesser than another. We have been made in the image of God and when we look at, gaze upon, interact with our earthly companions, we begin to understand the depth and breath of the love of God and the complexity and diversity of creation itself.
We are also led to think on the awesome responsibility we have for one another in that very same realm, the citizenship of a dynamic world in which much has been given, gift, resources, environment, relationship, self and other, a wonderful and joyous opportunity and blessing if we receive in the intended frame, with open hearts, minds and love, what a world it could be.
Jesus takes us with him.
Like everybody else keen for the salvation of Gods people and the world, he presents with many others to be baptized by the radical, prophesying John the Baptist. Here begins the great liturgies of the church. In Jesus presenting himself, he seeks and marks a new beginning through a significant ritual, where he puts his trust in another who claims to be the purveyor of the message of God and ritualizes the moment by plunging Jesus into the waters of the Jordan River, to cleanse and to revive Jesus as a symbol of an expected new beginning.
From that moment, in Jesus story, his response is to do the will of the one who sent him, and acknowledged by God, in the physical form of a descending dove and audible words, we are introduced in this divine drama into the realm of a triune God. A creator, one who saves and an advocate, all in one, in relationship, even before Abraham, establishing a new authority, a new hope in an expectant world.
Every time we lift a child, or take the hand of an adult to the waters of baptism, to this God fuelled ancient act and liturgy, we acknowledge the God within, the God who waits on us, the God who has been with us, even in our mother’s womb. The God of mystery and our forever yearning.
Jesus proves there is another step to take.
Ritual done, God’s presence acknowledged, belief articulated in word and moment, now is the time of doing. Of radical love, of sitting in moments and places that will cause discomfort and recogning, comfort and healing, blessings and letting go, good news to all the world, a peace that passes all understanding. And we believe, Jesus is with us in all this, in the power of the Holy Spirit walking, moving and being with us in our gift, our blessings, all the things God has given to us and invited us in our yes to him to enact in a world that still looks to see the vital signs of salvation when all many seem to see is brokenness and division.
Jesus baptism enacts ministry, proactive lovingness an acknowledgment that by all we have received, the world might be changed through him.
As he concludes his earthly ministry, he tells us that the only command is to love one another as he has loved us. If you read his short story, the 3 or so years of active ministry from the day of baptism to the moment of crucifixion to the day of resurrection to the moment of ascension, we are given a clear picture of how to love. He is with us till the end of the age, alive in you and me, ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven.
As we sing our praises, let us be his praise, by gift and blessing, in love that we answer that great call out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Blessings in this season of epiphany, the days of enlightenment and new direction