Sharing his word

Published 8:01 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

It’s the start of a new month, and many folks are counting down the days until spring. It usually comes a lot earlier around here than other places we’ve lived, where wind chills hit double digits and the snow stays on the ground from Thanksgiving to Easter.

Rather than counting the days down till spring and wishing our life away I think this is a good time for something else. It’s not as popular as Christmas or Easter, or even Pentecost, but in the church this is the season of Epiphany; the season that started off Jan. 6 with the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi. It may be a time to blow off for some folks — even in the church. But these can also be good days for some reflection.

Epiphany means literally “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” That’s a fancy way of saying that, through the visit of the Wise Men, Jesus is made known to Gentiles – outsiders, those who are different. It’s a good time to put a stop on our self-righteous thoughts that Jesus only came for people like me and others who look like me, dress like me, worship like me.

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It can be a comforting thought that Jesus came for people like me, but we in the church have all too often used that as an excuse for exclusion, or to stay locked up in our holy buildings. When we let fear take over our heads and hearts we can use that line of thinking to convince us that there is just so much grace to go around, and there are others who cannot have it because they are different — a difference usually determined by us.

God comes to all kinds of people, it says over and over again in Scripture. Whether it is Elijah coming to the widow of Zarephath; or Elisha healing the leprosy of Naaman the Syrian (stories which got Jesus into all kinds of trouble with the home folks – read Luke 4 sometime); or Jonah taking God’s word to Ninevites; or Ruth the Moabite being the grandmother of King David; or Jesus dealing with the Syrophoenician woman; or Cornelius getting a dream to send for Peter, and then receiving the Holy Spirit in a powerful way, we see that God does not take sides. God comes to all, God blesses all.

But the big question for us this Epiphany is: How are we making Jesus known to the world? How am I opening myself up to others, even those who are so different? How are we letting the love of God move through us to touch others?

We may be the only Jesus some people will ever know. Epiphany is a time to check how we are doing with that.

REV. TOM ROBINSON can be reached at