This week we enter a new season of the church year called Epiphany. Ken Collins provides a helpful explanation of the significance of Epiphany. Each church season has a color and the one for Ephiphany is green to symbolize growth and life. This seems to me an appropriate theme for meditation as we enter this new year. How, Father, would you have me grow and live in this next year?
The key theme of Epiphany, which comes from a Greek word meaning “manifestation”, is Jesus’ manifestation of Himself as God. Many of the readings for this season therefore focus on Jesus’ identity, and therefore on our identity as his followers. What does it mean to be people on the way of Jesus in 2009? We’ll find out together.
The word ‘epiphany’ seems to have gained currency in contemporary culture. I’ll often hear someone say, “I had an epiphany.” As believers, we are to have an epiphany in the person of Jesus. We’re not just supposed to let life happen to us. Rather, we’re to be intentional in following him, that his peace and joy, along with his sacrifice, might be as much ours as they were His.
This morning my pastor, Mel Lawrenz, was interviewing Dr. Richard Swenson, who writes and teaches on this theme of intention. One of Dr. Swenson’s books is entitled _Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives_. As I listened to the interview, I recognized my own need for both greater margin and greater reserves. Gratefully, I find in my own devotional time, and in the writing of these blog entries, a place of margin, restoration, and peace. As we journey together through the lectionary this year may we together find more of the same.
On a personal note, may I also share that my wife’s Mom, Donna Karcher, passed away on New Year’s Eve. While her death has been somewhat sudden we’re grateful to know that she was a strong believer in Christ and is therefore in a place where there will be no more chemo or suffering or pain. I’m so grateful for the time we are having as a family to celebrate her life and love our way forward. Donna’s husband John Karcher loved her dearly and continues to be a great inspiration and model for all of us of living well for Christ. With my Dad’s death 2 years ago, Donna’s death last week, and my younger brother Chris’s ongoing battle with cancer, I am having glimpses over the horizon of this life to the hope that awaits all of us who are being reconciled by the death of Christ at Calvary. I am therefore more intent than ever to make each day I have left count that God might be glorified here and now as he already is being glorified then and there. Soli Deo Gloria.