One of my favorite commercials in recent years debuted at the Super Bowl in 2014. This commercial was mesmerizing and captivating - and I kept hoping they would show it again later on in the game. Since then, I have watched it many times.
It was a commercial for the new Apple iPad Air, and it featured the voice of Robin Williams from the movie Dead Poets Society along with images of beauty and wonder from around the world.
The commercial is effective because it combines words and images together in a way that draws you in. But it’s not just any story. It’s not just Apple’s story or the world’s story. By the end of the commercial, you realize that your story is just like the stories captured in the ad.
I believe the same can be said of Holy Scripture. You begin to read a passage of the Bible thinking that you are reading an old story about someone else. But as you continue to read and reflect, you start to realize that this is not only God’s story or man’s story, it is also your story. It’s about your sin, your grief, your pain, your loss as well as your freedom, your redemption, and your restoration.
This is what the Bible does to us as we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest God’s Word. The Word of God, the Eternal Logos, Jesus Christ himself is revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Little by little, we find that God hands us his story as our own. We think that we’re the ones who are reading and interpreting the Bible, but we soon discover that it is really the Bible that is reading and interpreting us.
Luther writes in his explanation to the Third Article of the Creed, “The Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”
By the light of a star and the light of God’s Word, the Epiphany season proclaims that God’s salvation in Christ has been manifested and made known to us and to the world.
God brought light and life into the cosmos at creation with the simple phrase, “Let there be light.” That’s how he began, and that’s what he’s been doing ever since - making something out of nothing, bringing light out of darkness, creating life where there was only death. The Apostle Paul writes that “this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:9).
One of the evening prayers we use at our church reads, “Enlighten our darkness by the light of your Christ.” That is our prayer this week as Christmas turns to Epiphany, and we begin a new year and a new decade. Epiphany means appearing, revealing, manifesting, or making known.
By the light of a star and the light of God’s Word, the Epiphany season proclaims that God’s salvation in Christ has been manifested and made known to us and to the world. A new year awakens, a new day dawns, and the great and grand story of God’s salvation in Christ, the greatest story ever told, begins to play itself out in the church and the world. Ultimately it becomes our story too - as we are swept up into the divine drama to play our part in the narrative.