Today, we considered the epiphanies, times where God was revealed to people who
were changed forever by the experience.
It was my privilege to lead this service, and I kept the hymns and prayers to
reflect the theme.
Following is an excerpt of the reflection
To begin with I shared techniques I had been taught to help understand
bible passages when the help of commentaries was not available. The most useful
of these is to ask why the passage was written.
Now what was the purpose of the writings
that we have read today?
In Psalm 29 the phrase “the voice of the
Lord” is repeated many times. The commentators I read agreed that the phrase referred to the thunder
accompanying a storm which has rolled off the Mediterranean
and is hitting the coast, from where it shakes the cedars of Lebanon in the
north before it swings south to cast bolts of lightning in the southern
It was to
proclaim God’s power in this world, where the knowledge that such
power exists everywhere in everyday events, was an assurance to the people
Everywhere they looked they were suffering from being a captive
nation so they needed this assurance that their condition was only temporary
and their God was still in charge.
Isaiah was also written to a captive
people. A captive people
who despite regarding themselves as God’s people were constantly being
invaded, attacked, kidnapped, or exploited by other nations. And so this is
a mighty declaration that there is a bigger picture. This is a message of
restoration and promised protection, spoken with authority that cannot be
Now look at the New
Testament to Luke and Acts. In these books Luke is laying out the
background and the task ahead for Theophilus.
And so, with the
background established for all the readings, I want to focus on one of them and
then draw them all together.
John the Baptist was
baptizing and Jesus was baptized after which a voice spoke to Jesus affirming
the son of God in whom God was well pleased and there was an experience of the
Holy Spirit being present. Jesus was from that time on, God on earth for us.
The people didn't know that in so many words but they listened to Jesus and
Last week Rev. Bruce Roy
the Epiphany of God to the Magi. The Magi knew they were seeing truth. When
people were in Jesus’ presence, they knew they were experiencing truth.
Think for a second or two about why you
are still a Christian.
Why do you still turn up here on Sundays? Why do you keep giving to others? Why
do you pray? But don't leave it there. When you go home, think about it at
length, because sometimes there is much more to an answer like that than we
suspect. Think about your “stuckedness”. What truth have you experienced?
The second point follows from what happened after Jesus’
baptism. When he called people, they followed him. Why did people react as they
did to Jesus? What was it about him?
That's difficult to answer because we
can't really put ourselves back there, but I think there's a way to find out.
Think about the people you have met in
your life who drew your attention because they had a special quality other
people don't have. They may not all have been Christians but today I am thinking about Christian
people who make the rest of us stop and sit up. People who make us wonder
why they can be the way they are. People
who are consistently a bit different from the rest of us.
Invariably they exemplify the life Jesus taught us to live.
They are genuine in every respect.
They are authentic Christian souls. They are people who do not resist that
power of God that the Israelites were so aware of.
They are lamps to our feet and to all who
Jesus was that
and more. More without end.
of Jesus, we are reminded that we have received grace upon grace from God's
fullness to share with the world in which we live. That's what these people do
and that is what Jesus did as a result of the Spirit given to him at his
It may seem
that the task is too hard. That too much that is bad prevails. Here's where
those Old Testament assurances will keep us going. God is still in charge.