Rev.  Jan Bihl
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Epiphany 2019 - Seeker, Scientist, Sage

 

I invite you, on this year’s journey through the season of the Epiphany (8 weeks), to be seekers, scientists, and sages.  The Epiphany marks and celebrates the revelation of Jesus as the Christ.  In this season we explore who Jesus is and what his good news is in our lives and our world. First, a clarification of terms:

 

Seeker:

- notice, sense, pays attention to what is drawing/pulling you that you can’t quite explain: a desire, a yearning, a disturbance, a reaction...

- something leading you to search for the source, to explore…where does this come from? What does it mean?

 

Scientist:

- does the detective work around what is drawing you - investigates, explores

- inquires, is curious, does research, asks questions

- may have an idea about the thing (phenomenon) noticed and checks it out, tests it out

 

Sage:

- harvests/gleans the wisdom from seeking, investigating…

- you thought it was this…but what you found was…

- gains ongoing wisdom from ongoing seeking and investigating to find truth that sets free, empowers, gives life

- practical application

- faith, confidence and trust grow

 My prayer is that you will also join in and notice what is drawing you in this season of revelation, that you will investigate and become a detective about who Jesus is for you and for the world today...and that you will be open to the practical wisdom and leading the Holy Spirit has for you in that.

Seeker, Scientist and Sage – this can be a powerful path of prayer for us to deepen our spiritual life – our faith – our relationship with God and with one another. I wonder...what will we discover?   

Join the journey of discovery. See you at worship!

~ Rev. Jan Bihl

 

February 3rd: Luke 4: 14-21 (yes, again!) - If someone asked you to put Jesus' mission (and therfore, ours) into an elevator speech, what would you say? Join in the exploration! See you at worship!

 

 January 20th - Luke 4: 1-13 - Jesus tempted in the Wilderness 

Seeker, scientist, sage: how to discover in Jesus, our true identity.

For 2000 years personally getting to know Jesus continues to be central to daily Christian life experience. Why? Jesus identifies with each of us on the human condition/life experience level: 1/ birth exprience into poor, unsafe and dangerous conditions, 2/ seeker experience as 12 year old moved by longing, asking questions about BE-longing, meaningful relationship with God, neighbour, Nature, 3/ baptism for the forgiveness of "sins" acknowledging broken relationshps with God, neighbour, and self, 4/ temptation to "sin" and say "No!" to loving relationshps ending up serving whom Jesus calls "the father of lies".

Today, we see how Jesus identifies with us as seekers, scientists, and sages (disciples) through the interpretation of the Bible. What does it matter? Today we are swamped with gospels. There is my truth, your truth, alternate truth, post truth, etc.  So why should we believe Jesus and follow his Way? How can we personally face the many temptations on our way?

Jesus built on the Creation story in the Bible, what Saint Francis called the First Gospel (seeker, scientist, sage). As a Rabbi, Jesus used the 4 traditional ways to interpret and apply the teachings of Scripture:Literal, Suggested (moral of the story is…), Deduced (from investigation and research), and Allegorical (deepest symbolical meaning). A Rabbi who succeeded in finding the 4 different meanings became a great public authority, influencing people's lives.

Yet people realized that Jesus had an even greater Authority than this. Since Jesus identifies with each of us on the human level through loving acceptance, forgiveness, healing and reconciling with God. He enables our personal transformation from false self to True self created in God’s image. However, this requires our personal free will response. Love is a decision. Nobody can make that decision for us. How will you and I decide in the face of temptations to deceive and mislead us?

Jesus promised us a Helper: the Spirit of Truth. Following the Lord's Prayer in Luke's Gospel, Jesus urges each of us to ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit - this is what the mystery and reality of Jesus’ baptizing us in the Holy Spirit is about. We will know the Truth and the Truth will set us free...we will be empowered in relationship with Jesus, not trying hard on our own. 

This is the freedom Jesus invites you and I to live as his disciples, as many fruit-bearing banches in the One Vine. Will we choose to witness to His WAY of living in the age of relativism, post-truths, crushing debt? Who collects the interest on this corporate debt?  What does Jesus mean "forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors"?

What is the Truth? Does it matter anymore that there is such a thing as Truth?

~Rev. Gerhard Bihl