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There is a place for you here at First English Lutheran Church.
401 W. Main Street Whitewater, WI 53190
Church Office: 262-473-5076
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123 Church Street
Whitewater WI 53109
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the church office will be closed to the public until further notice.
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Expectations of Epiphany (John 1:35-51)
What does epiphany mean? There are a number of possible definitions, but here’s one — an immediate understanding of something: something profound, sudden, or surprising. Have you thought of Epiphany that way? In church circles, we expect Epiphany to be about the revelation of Jesus, finding Jesus, seeing Jesus in special moments. Our first thought is not to think that Epiphany is about being found ourselves.
But the Gospel of John encourages us to imagine that these can happen at the same time. That is, finding Jesus in those unexpected moments of revelation, those transformational moments, is also when you may find yourself — who you essentially are, who God is calling you to be. When you know your identity as a follower of Jesus in a deeper way, and see a glimpse of something you have not seen before when it comes to your own faith journey, that is an epiphany. The reading from John helps us keep the connection between Christmas and Epiphany, between incarnating and revealing. And that means that Jesus’ humanity remains central.
Part of what is revealed is the significance of God becoming human. God entered into our world, not satisfied simply to be with us, but now determined to be one of us. And because that has happened, we are also changed. Our own humanness changes. All of a sudden, how we see ourselves can no longer remain the same because we have seen God in our humanity. And that changes how we see ourselves. There are times when we do not want to be found. Being found is not always comfortable. Being revealed is not always easy. What do you not want to find out about yourself? What do you not want to find out about Jesus?
Perhaps when we read these Epiphany readings, when you look for Jesus, when you experience these moments revealing Jesus, you may also see something about yourself. Epiphany is not all one sided. It's not just about Jesus being revealed. It's also about you being revealed, too, as one who answers the call of Jesus to follow. It's interesting that Andrew finds Simon Peter. Then Jesus finds Philip. Later in the Gospel He will find the man born blind whom Jesus healed. When the blind man is found, he is changed. He becomes a follower. He recognizes who Jesus is. He worships him. After his death and resurrection, Jesus will find the disciples locked behind closed doors, and only then are they sent out. Jesus will find the disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee and Peter’s expectations of discipleship will be dramatically changed when Jesus says to Peter, "You are the shepherd now.”
That is one reason we are reluctant to be found. Because being found will change our lives, and we don't always want to change. During this Epiphany season, be open to discovering things about Jesus. But, in addition, expect to learn something about yourself. We will be changed by what we see in Jesus. At times the change is great, at times small. But something will happen, an epiphany, something profound, something surprising, when you encounter God in the human life of Jesus.
Being found or finding yourself can take many forms. It can cause some anxiety, but it can also bring a deep peace. In Jesus, God chooses to be found by us, to be known by us, in a close and profound way. Because God became fully human, we might guess that God is also subject to feelings of exposure, questioning, rejection, being fully known. Jesus says to his followers, “come and see.” This Epiphany season, come and see Jesus. See God in the flesh. But you can also come and see yourself. You may be surprised.
On the journey,