Second Sunday After Epiphany

& archive, Year B.

Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you
To know you
As you see and know me.

Amen

Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

God showing up among us – in Jesus – is Epiphany: God being revealed to us. The biblical narratives for this week’s lectionary readings draw us into several places where God shows up:

appearing in the temple at Shiloh and calling Samuel by name,
calling Philip and encountering Nathanael,
reminding the believers in Corinth of who they are—called by God to be saints.

As we enter into each of these places, we realize that we are not good at recognizing God. We are asleep, and write the visitation off. We forget. We don’t pay attention. We have preconceived ideas as to how God should come and from where. Like Nathanael we remonstrate, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” How could God show up there? We get caught up in our own wants, habits, pleasures, and forget completely that God lives within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. We do not see our bodies—which cause us so much anxiety, take up so much of our attention, which tend to be some thing we love and hate, flaunt and hide—as the dwelling place of God. God takes up home-making within us. We are awakened to see beyond the millions of body-critique messages which bombard us day and night, words and images which hold us captive to diets, standing on the scales, disliking the flab, buying clothes which will improve our image, and at the same time craving more food than we need. As we wake up, as we begin to see more clearly, we—like Eli—hear the longings and true hungers. We realize that the voice we need to hear and recognize is God’s voice – so often muffled and drowned out by all the other voices who demand our allegiance and worship. We become conscious that the hungers and longings of our wants, our habits, our pleasures, are all echoes of another, deep longing and hunger – the hunger of our heart.

Hannah recognized that deep longing. Her story speaks of how hard it was for others to hear and know. But God heard. God knew. And she was able to find voice amidst her tears for her longings before God. Samuel heard God’s voice – but did not know who was calling his name. Neither did Eli. But gradually, this aged, blind priest, awakens to the epiphany of God showing up at Shiloh. Then he can counsel Samuel to wait and to listen for God calling him again, and how to respond:

Speak, Lord. For your servant is listening.

Philip was awake to Jesus, to the epiphany standing before him in Galilee, as Jesus calls Philip to follow him. Convinced that this was the Messiah, he goes to find his friend Nathanael. But, like some of us, Nathanael struggles. How could the Messiah come from Nazareth? That did not compute for Nathanael. But Philip simply replied by saying, “Come and see.”

It is the exchange between Jesus and Nathanael which John catches in his gospel.

We are drawn beyond our limited knowings into the knowings of God:

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here
Is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asks him,
“Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answers, “I saw you under the
fig tree before Philip called you.”

Before others shoulder-tap us, invite us to consider knowing Jesus, we are already known. God has been present, inviting our attention, awakening the hunger of our heart, creating a tension within us between our desire to know and be with God and our resistance to such a move on our part. What would others think? Just think of all I would need to give up if I followed Jesus! Besides, how do I follow Jesus? An impossible task.
And if I’m truly honest, I want other things right now, more than Jesus. But on a deep level, I know I need to know Jesus. I know. Such is the tension, the struggle we feel within.

God sees and knows. Just as Jesus sees and knows the struggle in Nathanael, so he sees and knows us.

God knows us. God sees us. The Epiphany brings those quiet but sudden flashes of light, of seeing, of knowing. God shows up before us, and helps us see and know.

In the psalm for this week’s readings, we are called to see ourselves as God sees us. To pause and know this kind and knowing One who has been with us since before we were born. And in this seeing and knowing as God sees, to become aware of the damaging voices which constrict and blind our vision of who we truly are in God’s eyes.

Yes, we forget. Our wants and desires drag a screen across the eyes of our soul, and we revert to our old behaviors. But God keeps coming, reminding us of who we are, of who is calling us, and who we follow, and above all, who it is who is at home within us.

Gradually we awaken to the reality that we too are an epiphany. Each of us. God lives and shows up within us, through us – for our sake, for God’s sake, and for the sake of the world.

Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us.
You are God
Showing up among us
With us.
By your Spirit
Help me to see you
To know your voice
Among the many voices
To hear you
As you see and hear the deepest
Desires of my soul.
Amen

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

  • 1/9 Monday: John 1:43-46
  • 1/10 Tuesday: John 1:47-51
  • 1 1/11 Wednesday: Psalm 139:1-6,13-18
  • 1/12 Thursday: 1 Samuel 3:1-20
  • 1/13 Friday: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
  • 1/14 Saturday: John 1:43-46
  • 1/15 Sunday: John 1:47-51