It’s always strange celebrating Epiphany during this time of year. It falls on January 6, which may or may not be a Sunday. It’s in the “Christmas Season,” yet we’ve likely forgotten about Christmas by the 6th of January and we’re probably working on getting our décor put away. I preached this past Sunday on the Lectionary text of Jeremiah 31, an oracle describing the joy of returning to Israel after Babylonian exile. Lots of baggage looms large over the people Israel. Their exile, as was explained to them, was punishment for unfaithfulness to God. I like to take the approach of having grace with a traumatized people. The “how, why?” is lost in the reality of pain. Please hear me when I say that the “how” and “why” are very important, and we should all reflect on those things…and I would also invite us all this season to have a little more grace with ourselves, temporarily letting go of the “why did this happen? Is it me?” and allowing ourself space to heal.
2. Your Peace Will Make Us One
This song was recently brought to my attention again in a team meeting. A few months ago, I let iTunes pick what songs I should hear while I cleaned based on my preferences. I started hearing the melody of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the voice sounded like Audrey Assad, one of my favorite Christian artists. I was immediately disappointed, but then stopped to listen to the lyrics:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
You are speaking truth to power, You are laying down our swords
Replanting every vineyard ’til a brand new wine is poured
Your peace will make us one
I highly encourage you to check this out. The music and lyrics can be found here.
3. Wholehearted Faith
If you follow the work of Rachel Held Evans, you may know that she was working on a manuscript when she died. We have been blessed with her close friend, Jeff Chu, taking her writings and making them a book in the style of her writing. These are Rachel’s thoughts and ideas simply expanded. Her describing her move from “conservative, God and country” Christianity to a more expansive faith is one that I relate to, and I know many others do, as well. I highly recommend giving this short book a read.
4. Mediterranean Chicken
If you’re looking for a warm dish on a cold night (or even just a chilly night), I give you compete permission to use this easy recipe. It includes chicken thighs, chickpeas, orzo, and olives (although I don’t like olives so I took them out). It all done in one pan and is easily modifiable to have your favorite foods thrown in. If you get tired of having a million dirty dishes after cooking, this recipe is for you!
5. Hues and Cues
‘Tis the season for board and card games. For me that’s year round, but I know many people stay inside when the weather gets cold and turn to games for a night in. I got the game “Hues and Cues” for Christmas, a game where you put words to colors. With 480 colors on the board, grid style, you get 1 word and 2 word cues to have your fellow players guess which color is on the drawn card. If you say “leaves,” do you mean fall leaves? Summer leaves? Exactly what shade of green if you were to say “summer leaves?” Points are given to those in the closest proximity to the shade on the grid. For more info, you can click here to go to Board Game Geek for a review.