We are in the beginning of Epiphany, the season when we remember the meaning of baptism and our call to follow Jesus. For those of us who are full, stuffed with all that can be consumed in this culture, having found so many ways to satisfy our gnawing hunger, what more can God do for us? I mean, when we are so content, so settled in our status in life, so confident in our goodness, where can God fit in? Seems to me that fixed, smug, self-congratulatory religion is the death of a living relationship with a living God.
Here in Epiphany, as Jesus leaves the Jordan River following his baptism, and goes about recruiting disciples, he challenges us with the vision of God’s kingdom. That kingdom may not be what we expected! That vision may not be one that we wanted to see! We’re talking sacrifice, humility, forgiving others, and carrying a cross. Yet, Jesus the preacher keeps talking to us, keeps turning us toward this new kingdom, and keeps offering to us a gracious invitation to jump on board with him.
Martin Luther King said something about not letting a finite disappointment overshadow an infinite hope. That infinite hope is God in Christ. Lord Jesus blesses us with his living presence. He comes to us in our need and bestows a healing power. He sidles up to us when life is tough and infuses us with his sustaining strength. And he lifts us up in order that we may lift up others. In Epiphany, we pray that Jesus gives us the courage to listen to him, and in listening, to follow him, no matter what he asks of us and what he leads us into. Amen!