I so enjoy the season of Epiphany, and yet, it is often overlooked. That’s really too bad,because Epiphany creates a me for us to explore how the Scriptures shed light on who God is, and how God is active in our lives! “The me is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” With these words, in Mark’s Gospel, the story of Jesus’ public ministry begins.
The me is fulfilled.
Here, The author uses the Greek word καιρὸς (kairos) for me. As opposed to χρόνος (chronos), a word that refers to me that can be measured, καιρὸς refers to a special me—a significant me. The me is pregnant with the possibilities of Grace and Resurrection! Sometimes Biblical writers use the phrase “the fullness of me” to refer to καιρὸς me. In this scripture, it is indeed, a full me! The Messiah has arrived. God is about to accom- plish what faithful people have been waiting generations to experience. Jesus announces that God is about to act.
The kingdom of God has come near.
Immanuel. God with us. In Jesus, no longer is God a remote, unreachable being. God has become human, intimately experiencing life as we humans know it, and makes Godself tangibly available to believers; in a living and growing relationship.
As John the Baptizer makes so clear, this new relationship with God begins by repenting; literally “Turning”. In the biblical sense, turning your life Godward. Believers acknowledge their brokenness and sin. Yet, through open and honest confession about the brokenness of humanity, trusting God’s promise to forgive, renew and restore, a new beginning is made. Repentance is often a hard thing to do, but the hope of new life makes it possible to take it seriously, and look for the ways in which it helps to make new beginnings possible.
Believe in the good news.
The good news is that sin does not have the final say! Our brokenness, destructive decisions and/or habits need not be the end of the story. Instead, through the life, death, and resurrec on of Christ, God’s love and grace overcomes! As scripture insists: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)
As Mark’s Gospel begins, so does our life with God. We too live in a me that is filled with the presence of God. We too need not experience God not as a remote, “theoretical possibility”, but as an immanent presence in our lives. We too at times feel sorrow and regret for what we have done (and for what we have left undone...).
But Here is the Great Good News!! We too, by the salvific Grace of God and leaning on the promise expressed in our baptism, are welcomed into the love and grace of God.