Notes from Jan

Epiphany and Infamy

January 14, 2021

Maybe it’s not so strange that a day of infamy happened in our country’s Capitol on January sixth. It’s the Day of the Epiphany of Jesus the Christ for many Christians. On this date we remember the Magi who brought gifts laden with meaning to honor the Christ child. Like an epiphany, it was a manifestation of who this Jesus really was.

So, what’s an epiphany? According to Webster’s dictionary:” (1): A usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.

And what of infamy? To Webster (1): It is an evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking or brutal.

A little over one week ago, we experienced both, an epiphany and a day of infamy. I wrestle with what to make of it. Who are we? How did we get here? What needs to change in me? in us? So, for the sake of my grandchildren, I’ll take a deep breath, while I can, and write a few observations. Feel free to eavesdrop.

I. Words and ideas hold power. Use with care. They’re capable of great good or lasting harm. There are words and ideas we say but also ones we read, watch and listen to that inform what we believe and how we live.

My grandmother taught me this truth.

“O boys flying kites, haul in their white-winged birds; but you can’t do that when you’re flying words. Once they’re spoken though you wish them gone and dead, even God can’t reel back the words you’ve said.” (or written, texted or tweeted, I add.)

My Norwegian grandfather taught me Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” He added, “Remember this, Yanice, God’s vord is a good provision. Your heart is a good place and to not sin against God is a good purpose.

II. Choices have consequences. Maybe some came to the DC to protest what they believed was a “stolen election.” They brought their kids, snacks and cellphones to record the day. But too many came prepared to do harm, to wreak vengeance on individuals, bring chaos within the Capitol and death to Democracy. But by day’s end, all folks, no matter their intentions face life-altering consequences.

III.Truth matters and character counts. So beware of following leaders who look and sound good, make promises to please you, even within the Church. To follow Jesus is not an easy path filled with privilege and power. It is a choice to be good when no one is looking and to do good because it is the right thing to do, even if you’re afraid and stand alone.

IV. Never lose hope. To experience this political nightmare in the midst of a pandemic is almost unbearable. As I was reminded in a recent sermon by Bryan Wilkerson from Grace Chapel, “Disappointment is the gap between expectation and reality.” The kindest word to use when looking at the country, politics, the pandemic and sometimes ourselves is disappointed.

But Bryan went on to quote Martin Luther King Jr. “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” It matters where we place our hope. As for me, “I wait patiently for God , for my hope is in him.”(Psalm 62:5, NLT)

Well, it’s past my bedtime so I’ll close with words God spoke to Joshua when he was scared. They often help your grandmother when I feel alone or afraid to stand up for what’s right, or to accept or speak truth.

Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9b, NLT)

Love always,

That’s both God’s command and my heart’s intent towards you.

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