“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.'” John 1:45-46
Greetings, Fremont Family:
It has been a week. This time last Wednesday, on January 6, I was reflecting on the nature of baptism and our beginning in “beloved” when not long after I sent my weekly email chaos and violence ensued in the nation’s Capitol building. Now, January 6, 2021 will forever be remembered as a day of insurrection and infamy.
It has been hard to concentrate on little else this week other than the news and the increasingly distressing accounts of violence, blatant white supremacy, and the idolatry of Christian Nationalism. That so much of the hatred and extremism of last week was couched in religious language and understood as God’s righteous cause has been downright nauseating to me. Yet, like having a mirror held up to my face, it has also been confirming for me (“establishing the truth of something previously feared to be the case”). Namely, we saw the legacy of white American Christianity in all its horror.
Where do we go from here? For me, scripture has always been a compass, a refuge, a guide. This week’s gospel lesson is the account of the call story in John’s gospel, chapter 1. Jesus finds Philip and invites him to “follow me.” Philip shares Jesus’ invitation with Nathanael, and Nathanael is perfectly human. He blurts out his social bias regarding Jesus of Nazareth, “can anything good come from Nazareth?” and Philip simply repeats Jesus’ invitation to “come and see.” What if this became our posture moving forward from here? What if, rather than the hubris and the hatred we saw conducted in Jesus’ name, we practiced instead a radical honesty and humility? What if we begin by confessing our social/racial biases and allowing curiosity to lead us out of our comfort zones? What kind of transformation might we experience?
We are in the season of Epiphany, and the primary imagery of Epiphany is light. Into the present darkness, God shines light. This summer, we kept a weekly practice of showing up on Thursday afternoons to embody our solidarity with Black Lives Matter. This simple practice, for me, was not intended to change anyone’s mind. It was intended to change me, and I believe it did. This Sunday, I am inviting us to show up again.
This Sunday, 1/17, at 5pm you are invited to gather in front of the church building for a quiet candlelight vigil. Please “come and see” God’s light and love reflected in each other’s faces.
Epiphany blessings, Pastor Erin