He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him 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.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[ you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
our beginning and our end:
bring us with the whole creation
to your glory, hidden through past ages
and made known in Jesus Christ our Lord.
One of the things that is very noticeable about the events that we have seen during the Epiphany season are the references to abnormal events. The wise men follow a star. Why? How can that lead them to something on earth? People try to explain it as a conjunction of planets but that’s silly, how could a star or even a planet stop over a location? It would have to be only hundreds or perhaps a thousand feet up? The moon is much closer than a planet, but the moon I might see above me is the same as the moon you see above you, it is far too high to shine on one location. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this wasn’t their experience, but to try to explain it is silly.
This is the same with the Baptism of Jesus last week. The heavens opened, the Spirit descended, and a voice came from heaven, “This is my Son the beloved.” This is not normal; this is not to be explained in human terms.
Today we see something similar, “You will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
The fact is that we are using our language to talk about the actions of God. Why should we be able to explain God? Why should our language be adequate to describe God? If we are serious about a divine being, then there will to be things we don’t understand.
There is a place for mystery, a place for awe and wonder, a place for the miraculous. Sometimes we can’t understand, we can’t explain. A place for faith.