Monday, January 15, 2007

Epiphany: How Does God Sign His Name

The word "epiphany" with a small "e" simply means mani- festation or making known. When the church uses the word "Epiphany" with a capital "E" it means God's mani- festation of himself in Jesus Christ. It means God making God known in person- in the life and the acts of Jesus.

Epiphany comes at the beginning of the New Year and is the season to reveal to us more about God and how God has manifested Himself in our world.

Back in the seventies, I read a story I have never forgotten. It was about two ten year old girls who lived in the early days of our country.
One day they went with the entire church family to attend an all day Sunday School Convention meeting in a historic old church. They rode in horse drawn buggies to one of the oldest churches in the country, a church building dating back to before the American Revolution.

As the afternoon wore on and all the speaking continued, the children began to amuse themselves by looking around and reading the initials carved on the back of the rough wooden pews...hand hewed pews.

One of the girls pointed to the initials, “J. A.” and whispered to the other, “ Maybe that is the initials for John Adams.” The little girls knew from some of the history of the church that there was a possibility that, as a child, John Adams could have sat in that very pew and carved his initials.

This was a fascinating thought, They might actually be sitting in a pew where one of our earliest presidents had sat.

Then they began to excitedly look for other initials of famous people. There might be a "G.W." or perhaps a " J.M."? Was it possible that George Washington or James Madison had once sat on these same benches?

They whispered to one another about all the important people who might possibly have sat in those pews as children and carved their initials on the rough pews in this early American church building.

The one child whispered to the other, “maybe God carved his initials here. How about God’s initials?" “That’s silly", the other child said, “God cannot write.”

“That’s silly again, God can write if he wants to," responded the other child.
Then the thought struck them...if God wrote something, it would not necessarily be in English or any other language. God's writing would not have to be like our writing.

As they began to look around the building, thinking of the concept of God carving his initials, one of the girls noticed a tiny blue violet growing in a crack in the floor. She quietly whispered to the other, “Look, God signed his name there.”

Their excitement grew as they began to look around and point out place after place where God had put his signature. One pointed out a dimple in a baby's neck in the lap of a young mother in the pew in front of them. Then they noticed smile wrinkles on a grandfather's face. Then a small intricate spider web.

The writer, one of the girls in the story ended the article by saying, "I knew that Molly and I would spend the rest of our lives looking for places where God had left his imprint.

Epiphany comes at the beginning of the New Year and is the season to reveal to us more about God and how God has manifested Himself in our world.

With all the distractions, falsehoods, and half truths banded about in our world today, it seems easy to put aside serious thinking and to spend our time thinking of lesser things.

There are still the Herods of the world, who have a vested financial interest in defeating us , rewriting our Christian history as a nation and making us forget God and forget who we are as children of God.
Just yesterday, the Televisiaon and Internet news revealed a 16 year old who took his dad's gun into his school and seriously wounded his school Principal and killed the assistant Principal and himself. He left a sad note asking people to "remember him for he was was in his past" and not for his last actions. A sixteen year old already tired of life.

Solzhenitsyn said some thought provoking words about the presence of evil and of the Herods of our world. He said, “The fight for the planet, physical and spiritual is a fight of cosmic proportions , and it is not a vague matter of the future, it is a battle that has already started. The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive. Our TV screens, computers and publications are full of prescribed smiles...we might say canned laughter and raised glasses.” Yet alcoholism and suicide is rampant , even among youth.

But in the midst of heartache, terror and evil, God does not leave us withour signs of himself, God has given us a brand new day and today is the first day of the rest of your life. Epiphany comes in the New Year as a time of unveiling…

In our church office in East Point, we had a poster with the words “I know I am somebody because God don’t make no junk.”

I, like many of my generation, was reared “poor” in this worlds goods but with great spiritual wealth. Millions of people in this country have come up from poverty and physical deprivation into self esteem because we learned that the eternal God loves us and had a wonderful plan for our life. We learned in church that we were so important, and so loved that Jesus Christ died for us.

We did not need “self esteem classes” as some of our poor little rich kids do today, who have not had the privilege to learn about Jesus.

The two little girls searched for God’s signature, and I am sure if they kept honestly searching, they also found God in the Bible and in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

And also even in the midst of the great mystery of sorrow and grief as well as in the beauty of flowers and sunsets and babies.


Joan said...

It seems we have to be reminded over and over again. The world is so constantly with us.

Carol said...

Very beautiful and meaningful. Thanks!

JBL said...

So well said. God's signature is all around us....we just fail to see it! Thanks for the reminder. said...

It will not really have effect, I feel like this.