Remembering Who We Are

The journey from Epiphany to Lent brings us from the brightness of our dawning to the bleakness of our sinfulness. From God manifest as Lord of all to Godly power expressed in emptying itself of power. A baby—weak, unarmed, and wise, in the words of 16th-century poet Robert Southwell—overturns a world.

These weeks we join generations of followers who wondered, perplexed as we, at ineffable light coming into sharpest focus on a cross. What a strange faith we profess.

Our life as children of the covenant is spent trying to make sense of this Jesus we claim to love, and of the God whose love claims us. This isn’t mere headwork—it’s what we do, how we love, the quality of our trust. In so doing we stand in a long line of faithful people who believe that death has lost its dominion here and now, all evidence to the contrary.

This mystery is ever new. No matter how many times we sit through the stories—the Magi, Jesus’ baptism and that voice from heaven, his Transfiguration and testing—old meanings are recovered and new ones generated.

The Bible speaks with many voices, diverse in style and theology. Try as we might to squeeze out a definitive Jesus or claim that our reading, however learned, is exhaustive, we will fail, and mercifully so. Matthew, John, Micah, and 2 Peter give us different takes on the same story of God’s covenant faithfulness, each reflecting a particular refraction of the light that shines in our darkness.

Kari Jo Verhulst, a Sojourners contributing writer, is an M.Div. student at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


January 6

A Birth Announcement
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2002
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