Wednesday, January 6, 2021

An Epiphany to Remember

January 6 is the feast of Epiphany on the Christian calendar. It marks the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The word means "manifestation," and the Magi's visit marks the Lord's first manifestation to the Gentiles.

Epiphany also means "a sudden...perception of the essential nature or meaning of something." I wonder if Americans suddenly realize how precious is our republic. We take for granted that our votes matter, and that our democratically elected representatives will defend the U.S. Constitution and stand for the rule of law.

When a new administration moves into the White House, news commentators always note that in America there is a peaceful transition of power, regardless of the party going in or out of power. Since 1789 we have had peaceful transitions of power. Even at the brink of the Civil War, no one stormed the Capitol. 

We must not take our republic for granted, as Benjamin Franklin famously implied. We need to uphold the Constitution, even when we disagree with the outcomes of elections. There will always another election. Or at least there always has been.

Christians in America also need another epiphany: the governments of humans will always be flawed and can never bring in the kingdom of God. As Jesus said, his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). He reigns in the hearts of his followers, transforming our lives from the inside out. When his love rules in our hearts, this world really becomes a better place. It takes time, centuries, apparently. And one day he will return to rule on earth.

Until then, we must let his love rule our lives and work to make these earthly governments as just and peaceful as possible.