Identity Formation: Epiphany

I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally opened our Midtown services with a welcome that reminded us of our identity as God’s gathered people.  Here’s one for the Epiphany season:

Welcome to Midtown Christian Community.

Today is called “Epiphany,” a term that means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.”

In Western churches, this day is specially marked out to remember the coming of the wise men to bring gifts to the Christ child.  By doing so, they “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King.

Epiphany – and the time between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent – is the time of the Christian year when we focus on the church’s mission to make God known to the world.

That’s who we are as the church – we are people getting to know God and making God known to one another and to this neighborhood.

The pattern for our making God known, of course, follows what Jesus did, who made God known most supremely.  And what did he do in making God known?  He did it exactly like we wouldn’t expect

He was conceived in a cloud of shame in the womb of an unwed mother, born in a barn, whisked away from the authorities when he was a baby.  He was rejected by his close friends and family, he wrestled with the frustration of not knowing exactly what he was supposed to be doing as God’s chosen one.  He kicked off his ministry with little fanfare, called as his disciples a bunch of rejects who didn’t like each other, and sought out those who were social outcasts. 

He showed the broken-hearted love of God to anyone and everyone, calling all to enter and inhabit the life-giving, gracious, but elusive and mysterious Kingdom of God.

That pattern of life sets the agenda for what we do and how we operate.  No slick marketing campaign, just broken people receiving God’s love and redemption, inviting others to know the God of love and life along with us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.  Amen.

* Other Midtown welcomes are here and here.

4 thoughts on “Identity Formation: Epiphany

  1. joey

    “he wrestled with the frustration of not knowing exactly what he was supposed to be doing as God’s chosen one”
    Though what you’ve said here is a profound point, you realize that most believers, upon hearing it, would say, “Huh?!”

    1. timgombis

      I hear you, Joey. Many Christian people are afflicted with a vision of Jesus whereby he never really lived a human life–trying to figure out what he was supposed to do, having to navigate and negotiate relationships, etc. But this sort of Christology doesn’t really honor Christ. Thinking of Luke 2 and Hebrews 5, texts that speak of Jesus growing up as a real human and having to try to figure out how to fulfill God’s mission for his life.

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