Message from Pastor Karen Jones

Feast Day of Epiphany

As I wake up on this Feast Day of Epiphany, I give thanks for all of the ways God chooses to reveal himself to me, especially in the person of Jesus the Christ, God’s Son and my redeemer. So I went to the world authority on all things (Google) Ha! Ha! and got this information for you: Epiphany is an “Aha!” moment. As a literary device, epiphany is the moment when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realization which changes the rest of the story. Often, an epiphany begins with a small, everyday occurrence or experience. Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation (theophany) of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. … Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. For Christians in the Eastern church, Epiphany is a larger celebration than Christmas Day. One of the traditions of Epiphany is “chalking the door.” This year, the following would be written over the door to your home or church: 20+C+M+B+20. The 20’s signify the year. The + represent crosses not plus signs. C,M and B represent the traditional names of the three wise men or the first three letters represent the Latin words of a Christian blessing of your home for the new year. I have come to love this day in the Christian year. Growing up it was never mentioned. (We did have one minister who threw a 12th night party at the parsonage to undecorate the house from the Christmas holiday). I think it has become more important to me as I am learning to see God revealed in my life. Sometimes God is not only reveled through intentionally seeking him in prayer, study and other spiritual disciplines, but also in the most unexpected places and most unexpected times and through the most unexpected people. God tends to show up when I expect to find him the least. And I wonder how each of us has grown in our knowledge and experience of God over the years. How has God surprised you in your life? How has God changed your story? It is a story worth you telling. For as I said on Sunday, I think perhaps we are meant to be epiphanies ourselves….. light shining in the darkness for someone else…. being that unexpected person God uses to reveal a little more of God to another. Whatever your politics, President George HW Bush was right in calling us to seek out “1,000 points of light.” Be one of those points of life. Over dinner last night, a friend suggested that we are all “little John the Baptizers” (my phrase not theirs exactly). We are all meant to point to Christ and say, ”Behold, the Lamb of God!” I am thankful this morning for all the people throughout my life who have been John the Baptizers for me; who have shown me Jesus. I am thankful for those who do it still today. Pastor Karen (From the Pastor’s Pen, First UMC Newsletter, January 6, 2020)

Happy New Year!

Do you remember when 2020 was a futuristic concept in which we would be driving flying cars and having robot maids doing all of our household chores? Well, no flying cars but there are self driving ones. And we may not have Rosie the Robot cleaning our homes, but we have robots that will vacuum and mop your floors, and refrigerators that tell you what you need to buy at the store. Many of you actually have computers that you can talk to and will do you bidding … like tuning on your lights, playing your favorite play list and looking to see who is at your front door. The future seems to be here whether we are ready for it or not. Ready or not! We’ve spent the season of Advent preparing our hearts to welcome the Christ child into our hearts, homes and worship this year. But Advent is preparing for so much more … we have been preparing our hearts and lives for the future, second coming of Jesus the Christ. It seems like some far-off idea. Followers of the Way have awaited his return since shortly after he ascended into heaven before the eyes of his closest followers. Paul thought it was imminent. Today, turn on the TV most any given day and you might here some televangelist telling you that Christ’s return is happening this new year. None of us knows. But what if we lived as though it might just be around the corner? I’ve come to believe that the last things people say in their life are the most important things they can say. Jesus’ last words were to Peter were to feed his sheep and tend his lambs. To the entire group of disciples Jesus said to go to all the world and make more disciples. If that was the thing that was heaviest on the heart of Jesus, should they not be important to us? In 2020, let’s think on and act on these words of Jesus, to feed his lambs, tend his sheep and make disciples. Where might Jesus be calling us to go? To whom might he calls us to serve? Who might need to hear the good news of Jesus from us? One of my favorite images of Advent is the light overcoming the darkness. Where might the light of Christ be waiting to overcome darkness in our very midst and through us being willing to let our “little lights shine?” Friends: let it shine, let it shine, let it shine so that whenever Christ returns or we meet him sooner than that, let the words we hear him say be, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let’s discover what it means to be disciples then what it means to tend and feed His lambs. Let’s learn how to make disciples of Jesus Christ. If we do, it will be a very happy new year indeed. Pastor Karen (From the Pastor’s Pen, First UMC Newsletter, December 23, 2019)