By Conference Minister Diane Weible
Yesterday was Epiphany. The day when we celebrate the star guiding the wisemen to the Christ Child. It is a day that we celebrate light coming into the world and the completion of the Nativity story. It was the 12th day of Christmas.
But it didn’t turn out as we had expected. There was little to celebrate and even less light apparent for much of the day as so many of us sat in front of our televisions and watched events unfold at the United States Capitol.
And, yet, it was Epiphany. A reminder that no matter how dark it gets; no matter how painful things become in our country, God has not given up on us. No matter how much of a mess we make of things, there is hope and we cannot give up.
God Incarnate who came to us in the form of a baby to remind us that the end of the story will never be the success of the powers that oppress and manipulate and harm. As people of faith, we are called to stand on the side of the oppressed, the broken-hearted, the most vulnerable and trust in God to go with us as we seek to share the transformative power of the God who calls us.
I looked at rioters storming the Capitol and felt so much—fear, anger, horror. I felt helpless and wondered if there was any hope for our country.
Then, as usually happens when I step out of my solitary world, I was reminded that I am part of a bigger community. We did not have to experience this alone. About 60 of us gathered together last evening for a time of prayer. We were gathered as community. It felt good and right. We committed through prayer to not give up. We asked for God’s help. We saw one another. We held hands as best we could through our Zoom screens. We cried. We offered love and support.
“…[the wise men] set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising,[f] until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped,[g] they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:9a-11)
Helplessness and silence and remaining idle will not speak truth to power and violence and oppression. I am not advocating responding with the same kind of display we saw yesterday. Instead, I am asking all of us to remember the message of Epiphany—that the Christ Child is the reason that the star shown so bright in the darkness that the wisemen found their way to the manger.
We need to not be afraid to speak out against lawlessness; to stand up to injustice; to fight against oppression; to silence those who speak lies. We need to think of those who need us to speak on their behalf and of those who need us to step aside so they can step forward.
Our power is the power of a God who does not give up on us no matter how messy things get. Our power is the transformative power of a God who says, there is work to be done and I call YOU to be part of that transformation. Our power is a power that comes from a faith that brings us into community so we can be refreshed and nurtured and then ready to go out and serve.
In such a time as this, we turn to the star to guide us and we call on the power within us to lead us. These are also the gifts of God for the people of God.