We are now in the season of Epiphany, one of two feasts the early church celebrated along with Easter. Epiphany marks the Gospel revealed to the Gentiles through the story of the visiting wise men.
I’ve always found it peculiar the story of the Magi. Something stoked their senses as they noted from a far away place *something* shifted in the world. Something monumental had happened and it deserved a response.
As we encounter the new year, Epiphany notes the passing of an old way for something new. After last year I could do with something new. Heck, I don’t even need new, I’ll take slightly used, so long as the OLD passes away.
I don’t know how many times we’ll go back to talk about 2020. The loss we experienced, and still experience, is not something we can brush aside when the calendar dutifully roles into another year. We can’t put aside how we’ve been permanently altered. But what we can do is draw closer to our renewed experiences of what it means to long for deliverance. What it means to reach for better times. For joy.
Joy is an act of resistance that becomes our counter to all that is not right in the world.
Reflecting on our current and past 2020 experience of life, this year, above all others, we get a real and visceral taste of the tangible kingdom of God at work. We continuously collide with the brokenness while holding the dream of Revelation 21:4-5. Where every tear will stop falling, and death will be no more.
BUT here’s the tension: we live in a liminal world (the now but not yet).
Six days into 2021 we already taste the liminal world. The “celebration” of senate wins in Georgia for our American brothers and sisters. In the same day, white supremacists stormed the Capitol Building.
A taste of the now but not yet.
Epiphany reminds us of hope for the future. It celebrates Jesus intersecting our space, ushering in the completion of God’s dream to turn all the wrongs right. It also means we can encounter newness of a reconciled world in the here and now. New is something we can participate in.
As Jesus encounters us to make us new, there is a combined effort to make ALL things new and that includes our own stories we live. Chapters of promised newness that happen when we can glimpse for new, cling to joy, and repair that which is broken in our midst. Physical things or relationships. Sickness or injustice. The list goes on.
Linger in the in-between this 2021.