Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means “manifestation” or “showing forth.” From the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 through all the Sundays after that day until Lent, this season is about the manifestation or showing forth of God’s glory in Jesus Christ.
We hear of the star in the East leading the wise astrologer-kings to the Christ child. We celebrate Christ’s baptism and the divine declaration that Jesus is truly God’s beloved Son. John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “The Lamb of God.” Andrew tells his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah.”
Jesus makes repeated invitations to his would- be disciples and other followers to “Come and see.” Echoing John the Baptist he proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He teaches the multitudes, giving what we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” Finally he is “transfigured” in the sight of Peter, James and John, and once again God declares, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased.”
In countless stories and images, the season of Epiphany is about Jesus being recognized as the beloved Son of God, the one in whom we see the glory of God revealed. This is the time when Jesus is “manifest” as the light of the world. This is a time when the love of God is “shown forth” for all the ages in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
But this season is also about another “e-word.” Epiphany is also about evangelism. Now “evangelism” also has its Greek roots: Evangelium means “Good News” and we usually encounter it in English as “Gospel,” the Good News of God in Christ Jesus. “Evangelism” never actually occurs in scriptures, but we do encounter “Evangelist” as one who proclaims the Good News.
So as we move through this season, we need to remember our position. In countless ways we will encounter Jesus as the Light of the world, the manifestation of God in our lives. But it’s not to stop with us! We are called to make the Good News manifest to others through our own lives—what we do, what we say and how we live.
Yes, this Epiphany you are called to be an evangelist! When we renew our baptismal covenant we promise to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” Epiphany reminds us that the Gospel is not for us alone. We too are called to “show forth” the saving power of God in Christ.
Do it joyfully, powerfully and unabashedly. Dare to be an evangelist this Epiphany!