Vicar's View - January/February 2023

Come and see

A person with the arms raised in front of the sun

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Epiphany is the season of showing or revealing. The very word itself is drawn from a Greek word meaning just this – manifestation or revelation. As you hear and reflect on the biblical readings for Epiphany, you will realise that they are all about the “showing” of Jesus Christ. Be that in his revealing at Bethlehem or in the visiting wise people from the east; in the declaration of John the Baptist to “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”, or Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana. In these events God in Christ is revealed.

In a sense one could say that this very thing is what sharing our faith is all about...that God in Christ can be encountered by women and men, and that through their response to this encounter, God’s power of transformation is released in lives and communities. One of the things that Epiphany teaches us is that any event in the affairs of this world can be a manifestation of God, or God’s love and God’s desire to redeem. In relation to some truly horrific events, I guess you may struggle with that idea, but ultimately all things will be summed up in him, and the God revealing aspect of everything will be plain.

Think then, about the life before you in 2023, both the significant things you are planning and the day-to-day events of life that will unfold with, through, and around you. What makes the difference between events that are manifestations of God and openings for the sharing of faith and events that are...well...just “one thing after another”?

Obviously, that’s a big question and you may have different and helpful ways of answering it for yourself. Let me however offer you one thought; that often what makes the difference is essentially the determination of God’s people that it shall be so.

So often there are things going on that are of profound significance, but we don’t realise it. Let’s have an example...well, Jesus to pick a name not quite at random! All that stuff that went on with him, through him, and around him. Yet, it wasn’t all self-explaining because we’re not always looking out for the significance in the moment before us.

Those who were part of the events surrounding Jesus, or heard about them, could and did by and large miss the huge significance of what was before them. They clearly did not in any way find that they simply had no alternative but to conclude, “My goodness! God in flesh there! I’d better make the appropriate response.” There was still a need for things to be interpreted, presented, communicated, and in a sense that’s entirely what the writing of the four Gospels is all about.

In a related sense that’s also entirely what church is all about, what we are about, you and me. Committed as we have always been to be living and speaking good news, we realise that both the showing and explaining belong together. This is, I suppose, an Epiphany pattern to our vocation as a Church family and I thank you for sharing with me in that journey.

I pray that this year for you all will be peaceful and blessed by love.



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