Submitted by Jan on Tue, 05/01/2016 – 12:10
In the liturgical year, this is the first Sunday of Epiphany, the time when we commemorate the revelation of Jesus to the world as Lord and King. In the Western tradition, Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January.

Reading the texts for this Sunday and commentaries on these texts, this “overlap” of Epiphany and the new calendar year developed a new meaning for me.

If you read the newspapers and (especially) social media, it is easy to become despondent about the world we live in.

Racism and extremism are in the news in South Africa, but also in the United States, in the Middle East, in Europe. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we can not do anything about our broken society. It is easy to become cynical about dreams and New Year’s resolutions.

However, today’s texts can bring a new perspective.

In the focus text, God affirms and strengthens Jesus and baptises Him in the Spirit, but also opens up this opportunity for us.

John van de Laar writes in his reflections for this Sunday: “The first Sunday after Epiphany gives us a “God’s-eye-view” of Jesus. We get a sense of the person and calling of Jesus from a divine perspective, and the message is clear: in Christ, God partners with us, and invites us to partner with God. In addition, God gives us the power we need, through God’s Spirit, to fulfill our calling to be co-workers with God.”

This understanding can bring new hope and focus to our New Year’s Resolutions. If God is our partner, it is possible to work to heal and reconcile our world. If we are co-workers with God, the burden of bringing justice to our world no longer feels so heavy. If we know that God gives us the power, the hopelessness lifts.