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“Send in the clowns!”

by Amanda Watson

True confession: I am one of those who catch the punchline of a joke about three seconds after everybody else. It’s my face. There I am listening intently when suddenly, after everybody else, my eyes grow large and my face lights up with understanding. It is so hard to be cool when you just are not. But the words of that song, I Can See Clearly Now are so true. It is that moment when the light shines (like the light bulb overhead in the comics) with the realization, “I get it!” The light explodes in revelation and I am reminded that Jesus is light, revealed. This is the Epiphany. As the Glossary of Terms from The Episcopal Church says, “Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the peoples of the earth.” We can see God!

The manifestation of Christ is like that, a light that leads to big eyes and wonder of joy. An “aha!” moment that God came to live and die as one of us so that we can see and understand who God is. And, perhaps there is also that great laugh at the end, for the revelation of our God is crazy. Our God as seen through Jesus Christ is the God who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Could there be anything more foolish than to love one another? So, I say, “Send in those clowns.”

We need a God who chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; who chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; who chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are (1 Cor. 1: 27-28). Or, as the great Epiphany hymn states:

“Manifest in making whole

palsied limbs and fainting soul;

manifest in valiant fight,

quelling all the devil’s might;

manifest in gracious will,

ever bringing good from ill:

Anthems be to you addressed,

God in man make manifest.”

The manifestation of God in man is the revelation of a God who loves and cares rather than separates and divides. A God who brings the good news that love is the light of seeing that love is overpowering. A God of acceptance and grace. A God to whom we are known and who is known by us. This is the topsy-turvy world that I can see—the light that ignites joy and understanding. Together let us SEND IN THE CLOWNS, so that “Christ may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.”

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