We have are in the midst of the season of Epiphany. This is one of those flexible seasons in the Christian year, its length extending from six to nine Sundays, depending on when Easter falls. It is a celebration and time of growth.
Epiphany means "manifestation." The light - Jesus - manifests itself in the darkness - the world - and God reveals himself in Jesus, and the glory of God is seen in Jesus. It has been said that an epiphany is a "God event."
As I reflect on this season during my sermon preparations, it dawns on me that Epiphany should not be the only time we reflect on our journey of faith. Too many times we recognize or focus on the manifestation of God through Jesus only at this time of year. The truth is that "epiphanies" occur all year long. Many times we miss an epiphany because we are not looking for it or we do not take the time to identify it as such. Whenever God makes himself known, an epiphany occurs.
Several years ago the Carolina and Georgia coasts were threatened by Hurricane Hugo. Our area was flooded with people fleeing from its path. Churches all around us opened their doors and hearts to these refugees. By doing this, God was manifested and glorified. One young woman said that her husband, who had shunned the church for several years, told her after being at one of those shelters for half a day that he wanted to find a church to attend when they went back home. He said: "These people have been so loving and accepting. I've seen God in what they are doing. Surely we can find that at home."
The challenge for us is to be aware of the epiphanies that happen all around us. We need to be aware that as we live out our faith each day, we may be the instruments God is using to reveal himself to the world. As we live our lives, we should help bring the light into the darkness around us, not for six to nine weeks a year, but for all 52 weeks of the year.
The Rev. Katie Strals is pastor of Woodlawn United Methodist Church.