Manifest

Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17

Its all around us today, the evidence of God mad man. Jesus fully human, fully divine. Today the magi arrive at the manger, from following a star. The angels still herald the birth, the shepherds are still there. The poinsettias are still adorning the altar, a reminder of the star. The scriptures remind us of the promised servant in Isaiah, the first of the servant songs and Matthew gives us a sign from heaven.

There is a hymn we sing 135 in the hymnal which speaks of all the ways Jesus is God in man is manifest. We travel with wise men, to Jordan's stream, to the wedding in Canal, to Jesus' healing, all of the signs, the ways we know that God came down in the form of humanity, Jesus to be present with us. Somehow along life's journey we forget this. We don't expect a God encounter or we look for signs too extravagant. We expect God to show up on demand in magical ways and yet God shows up and we may not even notice.

How has God manifested in your life? Really, think about it. Today's gospel reading takes us to a baptism of Jesus by the river Jordan by John. The dove and the voice seem to be heard only by Jesus alone, is it because the people weren't looking for a simple annoying animal to come and rest and so they ignored the whole thing. Or take, for instance Herod. The wise men tell him they are following a star, they are just looking for confirmation from a local they are headed in the right direction. Is it too simple a sign? Just a plain star, maybe one of many, which indicates where Jesus lives so that others are not following it. We make it dramatic because we know the story, but it just might only be what is everyday.

How is God or Jesus manifested in your life? Its an important question to ask, and an important one to answer. It makes us look beyond the extraordinary to the everyday. Rich gifts are not flashy they are bound up in our everyday lives. Much like the artist we studied a few years ago who picture of the annunciation has Mary pictured feeding the chickens when the angel speaks with her. It is placed in the mundane, not the flashy. It is a part of our spiritual journey to notice when God shows up in our lives. This is what Nadia Bolz-Weber wrote about in her everyday saints book. The people she wrote of never expected to be saints, yet somehow each story draws us into seeing more deeply.

How is God manifest in your life? I think its so important to dwell on especially in the New Year. Take time to really ask the question and don't be surprised by the places you are led to. See where this star, this plain little star leads.