Revealing, Receiving and Following!
Epiphany starts and ends with a bang. The bright star begins the season, and it culminates with the Transfiguration a bright shining star of a different sort. This weekend the paraments are still white as we observe the Baptism of our Lord, but for the next several weeks the color will be green. During these Sunday’s the celebrations recede, and everyday life re-emerges. What the time between Christmas and Lent captures is that we limited humans can’t take it all in at once. We need a respite, a reprieve to reflect on what has been revealed as we examine our lives.
One of the things this journey of life teaches us is just how frail life can be. When you experience an accident and injury, like I have, you learn a lot about hu-man frailty. Epiphany is like a bright light revealing our weakness, fragility, and our sin. Our ignorance of God starts out in ourselves and our sinful nature. We start out lost and estranged from God. We start out desiring our own way. It takes an Epiphany, a revelation of God, for us to see the larger reality of our world and our existence.
Mark’s Gospel starts out with Jesus being revealed not to weary shepherds, or to star struck Magi but in His Baptism. Right away Mark wants us to have an Epiphany as we see Jesus taking on our sin in His Baptism. But Mark doesn’t just want us to have an Epiphany about Jesus, his desire is that we follow Him.
You see, having an Epiphany is great, but the real task of having an Epiphany is following. The Magi rejoiced and they followed the star. The disciples left the mount and returned to the plain and continued to follow Jesus. The Christian life is one of receiving and following.
Herod heard the report of the Magi along with the scribes. None of them followed. The Galilean and Judean crowds saw the miracles but would each refuse to follow in their own way. The light continues to shine in the darkness and the dark-ness has not overcome it (John 1:5), yet many yawn at the Christmas message and still more receive it and quickly turn away. The task of Epiphany is to “see” and to “follow.”
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine