This Sunday is the First Sunday after the Epiphany. On this day we, traditionally, celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. Jesus’ baptism is seen as the primary baptism, the one on which all baptisms follow. So Epiphany has a double focus: the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God to the world through the coming of the Wise Men and Anna’s Exhortation on the front steps of the Temple, as well as the revelation of Christ Jesus as the Son of God through his baptism. During the next few weeks we will learn from the gospel lectionary readings about Jesus’ miracles of healing and his teachings. In these readings, we learn the various ways that Jesus has revealed God to us by making God known through mighty signs and teaching; Showing how God lives among us, and how we are relationship with each other- God with us (
) and us with God.
You see, Epiphany is all about our future and how we will relate to God. It’s about the near-term future, as we look toward Christ’s revelation in the world, when God sets about the task of setting the world aright. And in this messed up world of wars and floods and ravaging fires I, and I believe
for the world, and our faith, to be set right.
Most of the time we think that religion is about obligation. We commonly think that God is calling us away from the things we like to the stern duty and austere obligation of being a Christian. In other words, most of us think religion is about giving up what we
to do so we can do what we’re
to do. No wonder we’re not very motivated to do it.
But that’s not what it’s about. We’re always motivated by desire, because that’s how God made us. St. Augustine said that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. God created us so that we can be satisfied only when the arrow of our desire is aimed directly at His heart of love.
Our aim can be pretty bad at times, so our desire goes to things that appear attractive, but that can’t satisfy that deep desire that all of us have for meaning, for community, and for love. The point of religious practice is not to get us to stop doing what we want to do so we can do what we’re supposed to do. The point is for us to realize that what we
. It is with this hope, as we begin the new year, that I pray you will join me in a search for God's relevance in our restless hearts as well as in our daily lives.