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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Season of Epiphanies

You never know where that inspiration is going to come from; you never know which random thought or action is going to send you off on a tangent for the whole day. Or, perhaps that tangent is meant to be the main path and (because we resist or don't even see it) we are nudged toward it. In this season of epiphany, surprise, revelation - discovery is the name of the game. Where do we learn astonishing things? The profound? Where do we see Jesus in our lives? Or as Karoline Lewis put it in her Epiphany Expectations article, maybe it isn't about us discovering God but about God discovering us. I think maybe that could be taken further to say God helping us discover ourselves first.

My friend Deirdre Wilson posted to Facebook this morning that the eskimos have 100 words for snow yet there is no word for missing a child. Not one. My heart aches but can come nowhere close to her pain of losing a daughter. There are no words. The Nigerians face slaughter of untold proportions, and we can't even imagine the horror of so many deaths. Yet our media is dominated by football and the horror is barely a byline. There are no words. We gasp at beheadings and terrorists and are quick to point the finger, yet reports recently tell of our own CIA tortures. We barely discuss it and quickly move on. There are no words.

We have mostly put away our Christmas decorations, and in this season, some are still hanging on working to have God being more fully in their lives this year. How do we live up to resolutions and try to be better? Are we doing this for God, or is it a fad? Are we truly looking for something deeper? If Jesus were to come along today and reach out to us to drop everything and follow Him, would we do it?

I think a sad look at our words tells us that we would not. Where are the words? Our actions speak, but our words have power. Look at the power of the French to stand up for freedom of those very words. Millions moved to protect that precious voice. But how are we using that voice in the world today?

So often we try to hide or shut down when words become too hard. God gently follows us no matter what. Jesus came to disciples through the locked doors in love. Muslem leaders lately have given voice that this terrorism is not Islam, not what their faith is meant to be, even suggesting that Mohammed would have reviled the murders of journalists more than he would the satire they had produced.

We are a confused and weak people. We can't put down our trivial to embrace and recognize our weakness. Give us courage to support one another and move this world to a place where no child dies before a parent, no community lives in fear of annihilation and words are support, not weapons.

What is God revealing to us in this season about ourselves? How do our hearts learn to speak? Maybe it's not about the profound but learning to put one foot in front of the other and living day-to-day. Reaching out a hand, being their with one another. Slowly, slowly allowing our hearts to create the words, to learn to speak our pain and vulnerability. To learn to speak in reaching out when that might hurt too. Oh God give us the words! Amen.

In memory of Nicole - whose smile embodied words straight from the heart.

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