Bishop Linda Nicholls
I write this article the day after singing in a full production of Handel’s Messiah – what a glorious way to enter Advent with immersion in the inspiring music of whole of sweep of God’s intentions through Jesus.
In one evening we sang our way from the prophecies of Isaiah to the birth of Jesus and then his death and resurrection and the power of praising all that God has done (Worthy is the Lamb).
Although we can sing the Messiah in one evening that revelation of Christ happened over many years – and continues to happen through time in our own lives. Every year we remind ourselves of the pattern of Jesus’ story and ask ourselves anew where our own lives have encountered Jesus or sought to make him known. You are reading this as we have just celebrated Jesus’ birth at Christmas holding our hearts in the wonderful hopefulness of all that birth would mean and does mean for the dark places of our lives. Now we turn to Epiphany where we hear the stories of the revelation of Jesus in the world – not in power or with great fanfare – but to the shepherds and foreigners and disciples. And ask ourselves where do we see Jesus today? Jesus is all around us and often appears when and how we least expect.
I know this is the challenge for me! I can be so focused on immediate tasks or planning for the next one that I fail to see an opportunity to recognize Christ here and now. I miss the moment of epiphany when I might have a chance to see Christ in this moment – in this person – in this event.
Yet, God is faithful and over a lifetime there are always new opportunities to catch a glimpse of Christ and see God at work and be encouraged. I love to hear your stories of epiphanies – moments when God spoke or knocked – or appeared! Of the church with no children that one Sunday heard a loud knock during the worship service and opened the door to find three young girls looking for a Sunday school! (Ask John Maroney!); of new people arriving at church because you posted about the church on Facebook (ask Kevin George!); or of a community supper where folks noticed and asked why the ‘grace’ cards were not on the table (ask Carrie Irwin!).
Christ is alive and active in the world around us – seeking to be known – and shared! We need the curiosity of the shepherds; the tenacity of the Wise Men; and the faithfulness of the disciples to stay ready to see and to tell!