The Oasis - January 6, 2021
Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
January 06, 2021
Rev. Eric Dupee
Today is epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. It is the day we recognize the Wise Men making it to Bethlehem and finding the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). It is also the day our camel, Charlie, makes his final appearance of the Christmas season at the stable. I hope you’ll check out the video on our website or Facebook.
There is a cartoon in the most recent issue of The New Yorker magazine in which a reporter is interviewing someone in Times Square, on New Year’s Eve. Up high, in the background, the famous ball is visible. In response to the reporter, the gentleman says, “There’s a lot of people hoping to take a swing at that ball once it drops.”
Much has been said and written about how the year 2020 was historically terrible. Many are hoping 2021 will treat us better. I even alluded to it in my last sermon. I know no one literally believes 2020 made a conscious decision to be awful, but I think it’s worth mentioning that 2020 didn’t actually do anything to us. I know it’s obvious, but I still think it is worth saying. We can’t take a period of time and assign to it personality and bad intentions.
In other words, we can’t blame the year 2020 for problems either caused by, or exacerbated by, us. The pandemic is raging, in part, because we didn’t collectively rally around distancing and wearing masks. The racial reckoning of 2020 was actually hundreds of years in the making. We can’t blame the past twelve months on our nation’s political polarization.
We can’t assume that, because the year has changed, things will magically “get back to normal.” The world won’t become more compassionate, caring, and forgiving, unless we change. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).”
The good news is that, we have the power to make changes in our world and in our personal lives. In fact, I’m a believer that way to change the world is by changing ourselves. As the hymn says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Every Sunday we pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The adult Jesus taught his disciples to pray for transformation.
I’m looking forward to 2021, not because this year will treat us better than last year, but because I believe God’s desire is to renew and restore creation. I believe God desires renewal for each of us. I can’t wait to see how we, as a church, will partner with the divine to bring about that renewal.