Yesterday marked the beginning of the season of Epiphany. Epiphany is the time when we recognize the revelation that God Incarnate as Jesus. We often think about the star leading the Magi from the East to Bethlehem to worship Jesus as King. Those of us who are Christians have experienced the revelation that Jesus is God-in-flesh.
Yesterday was revealing day, an Epiphany moment, for our country and church. As protestors gathered in Washington D.C., violence broke out as rioters broke into the Capitol building, forcing the evacuation of the Congressmen and women who were gathered there. This is just one incident of many on all sides of the socio-political spectrum. My heart is broken for our nation and our church because of what was revealed yesterday (and has been being revealed over the last several years). We are a broken and divided nation. We do not trust those different from ourselves. We would rather win a fight than seek understanding and reconciliation with those different from ourselves. We are a nation and a church that is divided along socio-economic and racial lines. There is contempt and even hatred for “the other.” Worse, is that the church often reflects the ways of the world more than we reflect Jesus.
Now, more than ever, the church must find our voice to lead. For too long, the church has squandered our authority and integrity by aligning ourselves with power, politicians, and parties rather than aligning ourselves with Christ and the characteristics of the Kingdom of God. We are not called to fight hatred with hate. We defeat hatred with love. We see this love in Jesus who laid down his life for the world (including his enemies). Jesus shows us that whoever wants to be first must become last. Jesus’s love told Peter to put away his sword. Out of love, Jesus ate with and washed the feet of Judas, who betrayed him. It was through love that Jesus forgave those who executed him.
As we enter the season of Epiphany what does yesterday’s events reveal about ourselves? Our Church? Our nation? What do the events in our nation and world, over the year or four years, or 10 years reveal about us and our faith? If there is any way in us that is sinful, hateful, or full of contempt for others, let us repent and turn back to living the Jesus way by loving God and loving our neighbors (and enemies!).
May we shine the light of Christ in a world covered in darkness.