"I had an Epiphany": God loves everyone
January 6 is a holy day in the Church. Unfortunately, it is a day that is barely recognized by many American Christians. Historically, Christmas was a feast that lasted twelve days (remember this song?). The end of the Christmas season was marked by another feast: The Feast of Epiphany.
The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek word that means, “manifestation.” It is the idea that something that was once hidden is made clear. What once was dark has been brought to light. That’s the meaning that is kind of hidden under contemporary usage, “I had an epiphany!” In other words, “What I didn’t see before has just been made clear to me.”
The Feast of Epiphany celebrates a specific event: The visit of the Magi recorded in Matthew 2:1-12. In this event a few gentile astrologers see a star and follow it to find Jesus, King of the Jews.
Let me say that in another way:
Gentile. ASTROLOGERS!came and found Jesus. Gentiles were not God’s people. They were alienated from the people of God (see Eph 2:12) The astrologers were even worse. They were star gazing fortune tellers who worshiped the creation and not the creator and practiced dark magic. These people couldn’t have been farther from God. They weren’t the good guys. They don’t belong at the beginning of a story about the Jewish Messiah.
And God loved them. He loved them a lot. He loved them so much that he revealed himself to them. He made himself manifest to them. He gave them an epiphany. He even used their false, offensive, star gazing lifestyle as a means to show himself to them. And this story is right in the beginning of what many people call the “gospel to the Jews.”
That’s because there is one, unchangeable thing we must know about God: No one is outside of his love.
No one. Not Gentile, star gazing magicians. Not false teaching televangelists who steal money in His name. Not someone dealing with the pain of divorce. Not someone in another religion. Not murders, adulterers, fornicators, practicing homosexuals, alcoholics. And here’s the best part: Not you. Not me. There’s nothing we can do to put us outside the love of God. He loves everyone. Everyone includes you. Everyone includes me. And the Epiphany teaches us that the blessing of God isn’t reserved for a small group of people but it is meant to extend to everyone in the world.
There’s a band I love named Gungor who makes the same point in their song "God is not a White Man" (seriously check that song out.. it’s fun and I love it).
Toward the end, he has this cool line: “Atheists and charlatans and communists and lesbians and even old Pat Robertson, Oh God He loves us all. Catholic or Protestant, terrorist or president, everybody everybody, love, love love.”
God will have messages of repentance for all of us. He will challenge all of us to be made new and there will be areas of our lives he will change if we’ll let him. I can guarantee those Magi didn’t keep looking to the stars for their signs after finding Jesus. The wonderful message of Epiphany is, in spite of all that, He loves us. He loves us enough to make himself known to us. If he stopped loving any of us, we’d be sunk.
There is no one outside the love of God. Not me. Not you. Not anyone. Please know that you are loved.