Look: Sermon on the Mount (detail), Henrik Olrik
The season after Epiphany is winding down. In less than two weeks, we’ll begin Lent which puts us 40 days with Jesus on the road to the cross. Epiphany means more to me this year than in the past. It may be because it’s been a long season compared to some years. With Easter being later in the calendar we get to celebrate Epiphany for a full eight weeks this year.
The Gospel accounts of Epiphany show God being revealed through Christ more openly than ever as Jesus begins his three years of intentional ministry. This year I can’t get enough of them. I’m captivated by the paradox of Jesus as both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
In the article, What’s the Good News In the Season After Epiphany? , the author encapsulates the message of Epiphany: I’m here, says Jesus. Yes, and this hasn’t changed.
We often say that Jesus completed all the work God gave him to do from the manger to the cross. That’s true. The season of Epiphany adds technicolor dimension to the tiny preposition “to”. We meditate on the manger in Advent and Christmastide. We reflect on the cross in Lent and Eastertide. Epiphany is for the in between, and maybe that’s why I find it so enthralling. We live in the in between, in the “to” between the first coming to the second.
This week and next we are invited by the lectionary to listen again to Jesus preaching the earth-shattering truth of the Sermon on the Mount. May we welcome this shattering to our lives between law and grace, earth and heaven, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. From today to the world without end. Amen.
Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Epiphany - Beatitudes. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’
Sunday (2/17) - Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26
Monday (2/18) - Psalm 89:1-18; Isaiah 63:1-6; 1 Timothy 1:1-17; Mark 11:1-11
Tuesday (2/19) - Psalm 97, 99; Isaiah 63:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:18-2:8; Mark 11:12-26
Wednesday (2/20) - Psalm 101, 109; Isaiah 63:15-64:9; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Mark 11:27-12:12
Thursday (2/21) - Psalm 105; Isaiah 65:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Mark 12:13-27
Friday (2/22) - Psalm 102; Isaiah 65:17-25; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; Mark 12:28-34
Excerpts from Sunday’s readings:
Bless each person you encounter
Silently or aloud, no matter the person and no matter the context
“Practicing the Sermon on the Mount”, by Richard Foster:
“In the “beatitudes” Jesus takes up various kinds and classes of people that in his day were thought to be unblessed and unblessable, and he shows how the Kingdom of God is available to them and how they too can be blessed. No wonder the poor heard him gladly! As the Simon and Garfunkel song goes, “Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on.”
In The Divine Conspiracy Dallas Willard gives contemporary expression to these “unblessed and unblessable-–the physically repulsive … the bald, the fat, and the old … the flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorced. The HIV-positive and herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged, the incurable ill. The barren and the pregnant too-many-times or the wrong time. The overemployed, the underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced… .” (pp. 123-124).
Ask yourself: How can I make the kingdom of God available to individuals who are humanly hopeless? Then as you go about your days, learn to take time to point out the natural beauty of every human being.”
You can find other activities for Epiphany at this post: 12+ Ways To Keep Celebrating With the Rest of the World (loads of links)
(See all Epiphany Daybook posts from 2018 here.)