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Message for Sunday 3 January 2021: “Revealing God”

In the marvelous spirit of the New Year, have a fantastic 2021. I share with you God’s enthusiastic embrace, filled with promises and possibilities. Experience a wonderful 2021 as you inoculate yourself against the virus of negativity and defeatism.

Every January 6 is the religious holiday of Epiphany, the revealing of Jesus as the promised Messiah. An early scene of Epiphany in the New Testament comes from the story of the Eastern wise men visiting a young Jesus and presenting royal gifts honoring his divine status.

There’s much speculation about the wise men, especially their possible role as astrologers or priests from the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. Whoever they were, the wise men point to Jesus’ special status. All of this makes for iconic imagery but what’s in it for you? Is there a way that your life can become an epiphany empowered by God’s presence?

There’s a neat way in which people who follow God reveal God’s presence. Epiphany is a reminder that through your life and that of other spiritually-awakened believers God’s timeless love and truth are evident. It is through a compassionate embrace that God’s presence is felt and shared.

You may not consider yourself a king or queen but your divine pedigree is just as real. Your existence is a gift far more valuable than the gold, frankincense and myrrh shared by ancient wise men; share your gift of life!

Epiphany is a great way to honor Jesus as the Lord of life. Today’s lectionary verses in John 1 reveal Jesus in the high heavens. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Seldom is Jesus’ status narrated more magnificently as in this declaration.

John goes on to equate Jesus with light, life and the forces of creation. John’s use of the Greek word logos is translated into English as “Word,” which isn’t just any word but the Word. It is the grandest, highest type of Word because the sense is that Jesus is equated with God’s underlying essence. John’s insights have busied theologians for centuries yet don’t overlook the basic truth that you can be restored, renewed, and redeemed by divine engagement.

What does John’s concept of logos have to do with your spiritual journey? You are encouraged to create a renewed reality by allowing yourself to be redeemed through the transformation of your heart and mind. All the grand claims about who Jesus is and what God has done can be abstract and overwhelming. To overcome a sense of disconnectedness you can strive to feel God’s presence.

You could allow yourself to be indoctrinated and cast into a rigid theological framework but that doesn’t ensure God’s presence and may even hinder it. An ongoing challenge is drawing close to God despite outside pressures to contort and conform.

You will be known by your fruits—behaviors—and you can become like what Jesus mentioned about a good tree producing good fruit. Produce an abundant spiritual harvest and dare to assert your spiritual uniqueness, an expression that transcends slavish obedience to religious rites and rules.

The most energized spiritual life arises when your attitudes and actions are aligned. Apathy and ignorance can lead you to just “sign on the dotted line” and leave your soul in the hands of religious officials, denominations and bureaucracies.

Choose to live authentically; resist subcontracting your spirituality to any third-party. Embrace God’s presence and become one of God’s beautiful, living epiphanies.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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