Epiphany 2A 2011
16 January 2011
Isaiah 49: 1-7
John 1: 29-42
St. Luke’s, Burlington
By Stuart Pike
Do you remember those days when you were a seeker? When you knew there was more, but didn’t know what that was, and you were looking for it? There was more to life that you had to find out about; there were questions that needed to be answered. Perhaps what had satisfied your juvenile mind just didn’t do the trick any longer.
It might have been at a pivotal time in your life: maybe you were making decisions at the end of High School about University or work life. Maybe you were wondering about where you might settle down, or with whom you might settle down.
Or maybe you were past all that and had settled and lived a great deal of your life already. And, looking back on all you had lived, you wondered, “And now what am I supposed to do?” or “What’s next for me?
Or maybe your job situation changed and brought you face to face with the unknown.
All of those situations might have been a little bit exciting, or maybe a whole lot scary, but they opened us up to possibility: they snapped us out of the known way and obscured our vision and made us into seekers. We looked for light in the darkness. We may have been filled with equal parts hope and dread, but we were seekers, and because of that we were primed to experience an Epiphany.
You can tell we’re in the season of Epiphany because the stories of the scriptures continue to tell about seekers finding what they seek, glimpsing the divine light and then bringing others to see for themselves the wonderful truth that they have just seen. There’s the idea about people be brought from far and wide and seeing the truth for themselves.
In the Isaiah passage God says to Isaiah, “I will give you as a light to the nations.” This truth is for everybody.
Epiphany itself showed us the Magi, the seekers following the light of the star, which led them to the light of the world, the Christ child.
Last week we had seekers from all over the countryside of Judea looking for more in their lives, and coming to John the Baptist, looking for answers. And Jesus himself comes to be baptized by John and his divinity is recognized by John.
This week the story continues on with the Baptist telling of what he experienced in Jesus, and pointing two of his own disciples in Jesus’ direction, saying – here is the lamb of God. John had his own Epiphany and his next impulse is to tell others.
One of those two disciples was Andrew.
They listen to what John has to say about Jesus, “This is the Son of God” … “here is the Lamb of God.” And they follow after Jesus.
What happens next is important. Jesus doesn’t just say a regular, “What do you want?” But he asks the bigger question: “What are you looking for?” Jesus knows these two are seekers.
Their answer is both baffling and profound. They don’t ask Jesus who he really is, or ask for the answer to any seemingly deep question. They answer Jesus’ question with another question, “Where are you staying?” Seekers are wanderers – like the magi who travel from a far country, following the light of the star, or even like the Jews who wander down the dusty road to find the Baptist on the edge of the wilderness. But these two seekers want to know where Jesus is staying. They don’t want more seeking: they think they have found what they are seeking, and they want to know where he’s staying. And they want to stay there with him.
Jesus just says, “Come and see.”
They stay with him that day and we don’t know what they saw or heard. We don’t know about their conversation. All we know is that at the end of that day, Andrew goes home and gets his brother and says, “We have found the Messiah” They have had their Epiphany, they have seen the divine light in Jesus and their first impulse is to share what they have found.
And this brings us to the last point of the story. Just as Epiphany is about seeing the divine made manifest, it is also about telling, about sharing the truth with others.
Andrew and the other disciple had their lives changed by their experience that day, and they would become, just like Isaiah, a light to the nations. After this story we usually only hear about Andrew bringing others to Jesus – like the boy who shared his lunch so that the multitude would be fed, or the visitors from Greece who were looking for Jesus.
Andrew wasn’t the one in the limelight, like his brother Peter, who always took centre stage. Andrew always worked in the background, telling others the story, bringing them to Jesus, and Jesus changed their lives too.
So let us consider Jesus’ question too. “What are you looking for?” Have you figure that out yet? Or are you still a seeker? Being a seeker is a great start because I really believe Jesus when he says, “Seek and you shall find.”
But at some time we will realize that our wandering, seeking souls must reach a place to stop and stay, to find what we have been seeking for all these years. We will find our own Epiphany when we stop and stay with Jesus and be changed by him.
May our next impulse always be to go and tell, to share our experience and to bring others to Jesus. Amen.