Astrologers tracked a strange star in the night sky and began a journey to see where it might lead them. Matthew's Gospel tells us that these exotic foreigners came to Judea and found to their surprise the newborn Jesus. It seems that God uses whatever language we can understand to lead us to faith in Christ. We celebrate the coming of these wise sages this Sunday, the feast of the Epiphany. We begin a season of the Church year focusing on mission and evangelism. Epiphanytide causes us to reflect on the brightness of the light of Christ in our contemporary culture. How does the Church in our day shine a light to attract people to the Gospel?
In our nation, the words we use to convey faith are loaded with toxic memories for some people, used as tools for political messaging for others, and carry no meaning whatsoever for still others. In this sort of environment, how do we Christians announce the message of the angels, about good news of great joy in our time and place? What language can we borrow to draw people to the genuine message of Jesus and the transforming power of God's kingdom? These are central questions, perhaps the most crucial questions, Christians can ask in our context.
That's why we are going to think about these things together during the Season of Epiphany. Come at 9:15 on Sunday morning as we begin to explore how the language of faith speaks to us. What do words like sin and repentance convey when you hear them? What about forgiveness, grace, redemption? This sacred speech, God talk, is the language our tradition uses to express faith. How can we reinvest it with fresh life-changing meaning in the 21st Century? We will use a fascinating new book to guide our conversation by Jonathan Merritt, Learning to Speak God from Scratch. Together lets find ways we can shine light for the seekers in our time as brightly as did the star attracting ancient sages to the Christ child.