Epiphany Reflection (2018)

It seems very superficial to talk about the manifestations of Jesus among us without listening to the voices of the millions of victims of the systems of destruction in this world. Epiphany means appearance or manifestation, it is an experience of Jesus in body and flesh. Someone very concrete that is seen and walks between us.

Christian tradition relates three narratives with Jesus’ epiphanies among peoples. The first is the narrative of the three wise men, three foreigners who were able to perceive the revelation of Jesus, as a vulnerable child, without the ability to defend herself / himself. The second is the narrative of Jesus’ baptism where he accepts a prophetic call not because he receives the anointing of the Spirit of God, but because he decides to go to face his demons in the desert. The third narrative is the conversion of water into wine at the wedding of Cana, in there Jesus himself prepares the party so that everyone can continue celebrating life.

But the question remains, how relevant these stories are in a world that is increasingly broken, unjust and violent? In recent years we have witnessed a humanitarian crisis generated by the situation of people displaced by the violence of political and economic systems. Jesus in his epiphany as a vulnerable and fragile child shouts at us in the hundreds of images of boys and girls on rafts crossing the seas to reach safe lands, in children rescued after the bombing, in girls kidnapped by extremists. In those bodies Jesus screams and manifests … can we hear him? Jesus manifests himself in his choice for a prophetic ministry in the voices of the thousands of relatives of the disappeared in Mexico who cry out for the bodies of their sons and daughters. More than 29,000 disappeared in less than six years without any clue of them and that reality is a scandal that the Mexican government refuses to answer … but Jesus goes to the desert to face the demons with his body and says:

“I want to tell my children that I love them with all the strength of my heart and that I will not stop looking for them.” I not only look for my 4 missing children, I am looking for the thousands and thousands of children of mothers who are suffering. same as me. ” (words of María Herrera Magdaleno from Michoacán). She has been searching for his 4 children for 7 years. Jesus shouts in the voice of Maria: those are my beloved children … return them to this earth!

In the big garbage dumps of the world, where garbage collectors look for the possibility of life where many of us saw waste, Jesus prepares the party, turning water into wine, when the garbage collectors find what sustains them. The epiphanies of Jesus shout to us, can we listen? Or are we entertained with biblical narratives?
by Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
on behalf of the Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders:
Rev. Elder Dr. Candace R. Shultis, Convener
Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann
Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson
Elder Nancy Maxwell
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD

2017-12-19-Council of Elders Weekly Call to Worship

(Finnish Language)
Me olemme Jumalan kansa, me olemme Pyhä kansa, me olemme yksi.
Me olemme Jumalan luomia, me olemme erilaisia, kaikki samanarvoisia.
Tänä aamuna aurinko nousi ja valaisi luomakuntaasi.
Tänä aamuna sinun armosi ja rakkautesi on minulle tarjolla.
Auta minua, että uskaltaisin heittäytyä koko sydämestäni niiden varaan ja luottaisin siihen, että sinä kannat.
Anna rohkeutta avata suuni, kun näen sortoa ja epäoikeudenmukaisuutta.
Anna viisautta, että en lietsoisi vihaa vaan rakentaisin ymmärrystä ihmisten välille.
Auta näkemään sinut kaikessa luomakunnassasi. Yhdistä meidät niin, että me olemme yksi.
Tätä pyydämme sinun nimessäsi Jeesus
Aamen

We are the people of God, the Holy nation, we are one.
We are created by God, we are all unique, we are all equal.
This morning sun rose and brought light to this world that is your creation.
This morning your love and mercy are available for me and us all.
Help me to throw myself with my whole heart to be supported by them and trust that you are there for me and us.
Give me the courage to open my mouth when I see oppression and injustice.
Give me wisdom so that I would not incite hatred and instead would be building understanding between people.
Help us see You in Your creation. Unite us in You so that we may be one.
This we ask in Your name Jesus
Amen

prayer submitted by

TARJA PYYKKÖ
PASTOR OF LIVING WATER MCC
Helsinki, MCC Emerging Church

 

 

 

2017-12-12-Council of Elders Weekly Call to Worship

Heavenly God,

My heart is filled with both sadness and joy as I take this moment with my family across the globe to still my mind and center on those around me.

As I contemplate refugees in detention centers in my own country, I am filled with shame, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

Witnessing the social imbalance between our Indigenous community and the non-indigenous community, leaves me bewildered, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

Hearing our local politicians hide behind their fear through cruel statements, often directed at minority groups, makes me angry and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

Knowing that our trans-family face dangers often daily in their lives, breaks my heart, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

Watching our elderly become more fragile touches such a strong vulnerability within me, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

I struggle seeing the class systems across the world widen the divide between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

When I allow myself to reflect upon the lives of those living in other nations, I witness their toils and suffering, I am filled with sadness, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me.

Loving Parent, you understand the conflicting feelings I carry each day and Your heart is overflowing with joy and love for me.

May my pain be transformed into compassion and my joy and love be transformed into action.

Wonderful Maker, please watch over our leadership teams, both globally and locally, to ensure their eyes remain on God. In all they do. In all they say. And in all they want. I acknowledge those forever-famous past MCC Leaders who have guided and shaped our global-church and we send wisdom and courage to the current ones – may they have the support they need to lead us into tomorrow in accordance with Your will.

In You and with Your love of us, we are able to carry Your Word and Your love out into the world. May You continue to shower us with constant reminders, so that we honor and live out Your plan, daily.

Finally, God, I send eternal gratitude to You.

In Your many beautiful names, I am humbled and eternally grateful for the gift of faith. Amen


prayer submitted by

SARAH DE ROOY
LAY DELEGATE
MCC Sydney, Australia