I walked into the dark church sanctuary with two other people on Thanksgiving Eve. We were going to hold a Community Thanksgiving Service at the church. I entered the building from the brisk Texas Winter night. The church looked dark inside. Up until now, I had not been in the building at night.
“We need more light,” I said, and with that came the search for light switches which in turn began to fill the sanctuary up with more illumination and highlighting the stained-glass windows.
The Church season following Christmas and Christmastide is Epiphany. Here the theme is the celebration of how the birth of Christ lights up the whole world.
Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 6 (or Jan. 19 for some Orthodox Churches who have Christmas on Jan. 7) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus.
Epiphany is also when some Churches remember when Jesus was Baptized, when he was about 30, and started to teach people about God. Epiphany means ‘revelation’ and both the visit of the Wise Men and his Baptism are important times when Jesus was ‘revealed’ to be very important.
Dr. Martin Luther King was a “revelation” to the United States and to the world. His call for equal justice, charity, access to equal resources and political power for African-Americans and others clearly proclaims the “beloved community” of God.
Almost 45 years after Dr. King’s death and how are we doing to realizing “the beloved community” in our midst? Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts argued in 2011 with the overhaul of the Voting Rights Act that discrimination no longer existed in a widespread manner in the United States.
I would respectfully submit that Justice Roberts was wrong. We still see great disparities in health care, housing, salaries, financial wealth, and in longevity of life between African-Americans and Caucasian populations.
We don’t need to look any further than our own state to see up front and close what discrimination policies are doing to Transgender youth, their families and to educators and medical professionals who want to care for them.
“We need more light”
The Gospel of John again reminds us that “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
How can you and I become messengers of the Epiphany, of the “revelation” that comes with the coming of Jesus into the world?
We can provide food for the hungry, clothes for the naked and liberty to those who are oppressed.
We can become bearers of the light that can banish the darkness that exists in our world.
Declaring the Good News starts here and starts now. It starts with you and me.
What can this Epiphany mean for you, for me, for Lockhart, for our world?
May the divine light reveal new sight and new enlightenment for all of us, this new year and beyond.
May it be so.
Rev. Peter E. Bauer is a United Church of Christ minister. He is the Interim Minister for First Christian Church in Lockhart and has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Medium.Com.