Isaiah 60:1-6/ Psalm 29/ Mark 1:4-11
Be the Light and Healing Water
Season of Epiphany
The twelve days of Christmas have ended yesterday! It is not Epiphany. So what is Epiphany? Epiphany is the day AND season in the church year when we patiently watch and listen as God is quietly revealed before us once again. It is generally difficult to recognize God’s voice in our lives, and the Season of Epiphany is an opportunity to watch, wait, listen, and look for God’s light and presence in our midst.
The name “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word “epiphainein,” which means “to reveal” or “to be manifest.” The season ends with Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. During the Season of Epiphany, we should reflect on the mighty acts of God manifested through Jesus.
Baptism of Jesus
After the birth stories of Jesus, we start Epiphany with the baptism of Jesus, which was like a second birth because he started his public ministry after his baptism. In the account of the Gospel of Mark, John the Baptist came out and offered the baptism of repentance to prepare his people for Jesus. Jesus came to be baptized by John, and as he came out of the water after the baptism, he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And he heard a voice from heaven, saying, “You are my son, my beloved; with you, I am well pleased.”
Through his baptism, Jesus was commissioned as God’s anointed person. Likewise, as the followers of Jesus, we also anointed as God’s people through our baptism and commissioned to go out and live like Jesus did.
The Light of God
The symbol for Epiphany is light because we need spiritual light to see God, as we need actual light to see anything. Jesus is God’s light, spiritually guiding us to God, as the special star guided the wise men to where Jesus was born. God is powerful, as today’s psalmist proclaims.
According to Psalm 29, God’s voice (and light, I might add) is powerful: powerful enough to “break the cedars of Lebanon, shake the wilderness of Kadesh, cause the oaks to whirl and strip the forest bare.” And for that, in God’s temple, all say, “Glory!” This powerful voice and light of God cause us to give glory and praise to God.
We have received God’s light, which is the compassionate love of God’s reign. As followers of Jesus, we not only received this light, but are called to be the carriers of this light. When we read Isaiah chapter 60, this message becomes clear. “Arise, shine, for your light has come.” It is not just that the light of God has come to us; we are expected to shine this light that we received. We must shine this light an unite God’s people under this light. God’s light does not discriminate. It is based on justice. This light unites people. Therefore, if one claims to love God but treat other children of God as if they don’t matter, we will know that it is not God’s light. It is not love according to God’s reign of justice.
According to today’s psalmist, the powerful voice of God strengthens God’s people and bless them with peace. Peace is such a painful word due to the things happening in the world right now. It has never been so important for us to reflect on the peace of God’s reign. It has never been so important for us to carry God’s light into our world; the love that liberates the marginalized, the love that unites instead of dispersing, the love that brings peace instead of conflicts and hate.
The Light and Healing Water of God
Today, as we reflect on light, we also reflect on water, since we heard the story of Jesus’ baptism. Water is life, since our bodies are 70% water and we need water to survive. Water cleanses, which is why we are baptized with water. Water gives life, which is why it is a symbol of healing. As we strive to bear God’s light in the world, we should also remind ourselves to be like water, giving life and healing the pain of the world.
Let us look and listen for the light of God to be revealed to us during this Season of Epiphany. Let us never forget the marginalized and suffering people, all our siblings. Let us become the bearers of God’s light and shine over the dark places as best as we can. We are beloved people of God. We are all beloved people of God. Let us go out and remind others of this truth. Let us be both God’s light of compassionate love and the healing water to all God’s beloved people.