Bristol United Church of Christ     "The Church on the Hill"
Bristol United Church of Christ         "The Church on the Hill"  

Pastor's Corner


Epiphanies Are Everywhere

Later this month (February), the church season will transition from Epiphany season to the season of Lent. It seems strange to be thinking of Lent in January (as I write) because Lent naturally moves my mind to Easter, a springtime celebration, more or less. Sometimes, these church seasons seem a bit arbitrary to me. Surely, we celebrate Christ’s incarnation throughout the year and not only at Christmas. We certainly celebrate Christ’s resurrection throughout the year. After all, we take comfort that Christ’s rising makes forgiveness and new life possible and accessible to us the whole year through. If we are faithful and conscientious disciples, we don’t ONLY examine our consciences and repent in the season of Lent, but rather as often as necessary. We can and do reflect and give thanks for all these things the whole year through, not only in the seasons of the church where each becomes a focus for faith. But before the time slips away, let us pause here in these last few weeks of Epiphany season and reflect on what this season has to teach and offer us.

Many associates Epiphany only with the day of Epiphany, January 6, the Twelfth Day of Christmas; the day reserved for celebrating the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. But that epiphany, the manifestation of God’s child to foreign wise ones is but the first epiphany of the season. The Epiphany season always ends the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. This last Sunday of Epiphany is set aside to commemorate Christ’s Transfiguration. This is when Jesus climbs the mountain to pray, taking three disciples with him, and there is a vision or manifestation of Moses, Elijah, the voice of God, and a transformed and glowing Jesus. This short season is about Jesus manifesting God in human form; it is about the realization of disciples, everyday people, foreigners, and even us, that this person is sent from God in love for us all. The lessons for this season are about people realizing who Jesus is, hearing his call to follow, and going with him into the world to help complete his mission and ministry.

Epiphanies can happen any time of year and in any season of life. Before our Sunday lessons begin to lead us to Jerusalem and Calvary with Jesus, let us pause. Pause and remember Christ’s invitation or call to you to follow him. Pause and remember times when Christ’s love and goodness shone forth so brightly that you were amazed and believed (or tried). Pause and open yourself to new calls to faithfulness and mission, to new revelations and manifestations of God’s love in Christ alive in the world today. Pause and see Jesus Christ alive in your life and our world today. Pause and say, yes, once again to his invitation to follow him into life together with God and God’s beloved ones.

May we all have a season filled with epiphanies,

Preparing for Lent

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 22. There will be a service of repentance and

preparation at 7 PM in Fellowship Hall.

If you would like to receive a blessing and ashes earlier in the day, Rev Andrew will have

“Drive Thru Ashes” in the church parking lot from 12 noon to 1 PM.