Expecting Jesus to Show Up
Beloved in Christ,
Yesterday, we began our staff meeting with a reflection on John 1:29-42, the gospel appointed for this coming Sunday. In that passage, John the Baptist is calling out Jesus as the Messiah to his disciples as he walks by. Several of us were struck by the strong sense of expectation that John and his disciples were carrying. They didn't need a full introduction to Jesus, see a resume, or think over whether or not to follow him. They were expecting the Messiah to show up, and when he did, they responded with immediacy and enthusiasm. Not only that, but they immediately went out to tell others about what they had found. They were able to see Jesus because they were expecting him to show up.
These few weeks between Epiphany and the beginning of Lent are a time when we are invited to cultivate that same sense of expectation, of closely watching for all the ways that Jesus continues to be revealed in our lives and in the world. So many of us in the modern world have lost touch with what it feels like to see the world as saturated with the mystery of God's presence, and the beauty of God's love. Keeping the feast of the Epiphany and the season that follows reminds us that the way Jesus was revealed to the distant magi through signs in the sky was not a one-time event. Jesus continues to show up, to pursue us, in every moment. The life of faith is about learning how to truly wake up and see him everywhere: in the bursting energy of a child, in the unexpected note from a friend at just the right moment, in the way a Minnesota winter silences the whole creation, in bread broken and wine poured out, in that hand that reaches out to hold ours. I believe we are living in an extended Epiphany season, when we are being invited to recover what it means to live with the perpetual expectation that Jesus will show up among us, stirring up love, raising up those who were cast down, spontaneous bursts of joy and peace.
Our Missioner for Communications, Emilia Seay Allen, has started inviting people over on our Facebook page to share stories of where they have seen Jesus show up in their week every Friday. I hope you will join in the conversation as we learn to live with a deeper Epiphany expectation, watching eagerly for Jesus who is ever among us, until we are so saturated with his perfect light that our life together more fully reflects that light into the present darkness.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya