Paul argues that creation should suffice to reveal the Creator and prompt devotion. But the human heart’s impatience for heavenly blessings leads us to worship idols and pursue cheap substitutes. In the frenzy, we miss the point of nature’s sermon.
Paul never forgets how God wakes him. As Paul travels to Damascus to persecute Christians, Christ strikes him like lightning. The risen Christ convicts Paul and then calls him to a new ministry of love. Paul staggers around blind for three days until he comes to his senses in the care of those he came to persecute. (See Acts 9:1-19.) In today’s passage, Paul refers to this experience as the revelation in which the mystery of Christ about which he preaches was made known to him.
Special revelation breaks through from outside the natural course of things, a divine intervention that disrupts the normal cycle of nature and the march of history. God is love, steadfast love to be exact, so God never gives up, even if it means knocking a self-righteous terrorist off a horse and commissioning him to a life of tireless telling about how that love raised a divine man from the dead. Such epiphany shakes things up. In Christ, God not only shakes up normal expectations of life and death. God blows down the walls that exclude anyone from the reach of God’s love and the blessing of eternal life. Paul’s commission from God is to bring understanding of this mystery to those who think it is not for them. But God insists through Paul that the mystery of Christ is for all of us.
Lord, when you shake up our lives, help us to discern your love at work and lead us to tell about it. Amen.
As we approach Epiphany Sunday, we think of the coming of God into the world as the coming of a brilliant light—a light that shines into dark corners, a light that shines on people who dwell in darkness. The light of God brings with it the power of restoration to a people in exile. It shines transforming power on forgotten ones who will now arise and shine. God’s presence brings light and well-being. At this time of year, we may desire God’s light to shine upon us.
Read Matthew 25:31-46. Where do you see darkness in your community? How can you shine Christ’s light?
Read Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14. Consider the differences between fairness, justice, and mercy. Who around you suffers when fairness wears the cloak of justice? How can you turn the situation toward mercy?
Read Ephesians 3:1-12. Was there a time when you thought the gospel was not for you? What has changed?
Read Matthew 2:1-12. We can decipher mystery through light, mercy, witness, and love. How is Christ revealed to you this Epiphany?
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