Epiphany Reflections: Go Tell It
Epiphany Reflections 2022
Confluence, a Center for Spirituality in the Diocese of Missouri, dedicated to providing opportunities and resources for spiritual formation.
I’m a Kentucky hill-woman. And in those hills I grew up singing the lilting hymn, “Go tell it on the mountain.” Remember it? “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere? Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.”
Who will we tell? That is the central question of this Epiphany season. Who will we tell? To whom will we Episcopalians in the Diocese of Missouri tell the story?
Herbert O’Driscoll, an Anglican priest from Canada, gives us a picture -- a graphic depiction of what it means to tell the story. O’Driscoll invites us to imagine a blank sheet of paper and in the center of that paper to see a small cross. Now imagine that cross surrounded with concentric circles that go out and out and out. On the outside of all those circles place a tiny human figure that is you or me.
O’Driscoll suggests that those circles surrounding the cross represent all those folks throughout time that stand between us and Jesus. Someone in the circle closest to us held out a hand, invited us into the circle and told us the Story of Jesus. That person is there because someone in the next circle held a hand out to them. And so it goes across the ages.
Someone reached out a hand to us – someone invited into the Story, into the power of a hand touched by nails. Who was it? Who told you the story? A parent, a grandparent, a Sunday School teacher, a priest?
For me it was a wonderful white haired woman named Mrs. Banks. I came to know Mrs. Banks when I was in the fourth grade. She had been a missionary in India, but now she upholstered furniture in her basement. Each afternoon, I held the tacks as she stretched and pulled fabric across the frame of a couch or a chair or whatever. And all the time she was stretching and hammering she told me stories about the children she taught in that far off land of India… and she told me stories about a Man called Jesus.
One afternoon we were drinking homemade grape juice on her front porch and Mrs. Banks said to me, “Susie, when are you going to decide to follow Jesus?”
No one had ever asked me that before. “How do I do that?” I asked.
A month later I was baptized. That baptism happened because a person held out a hand and invited me into the circle. Someone reached out a hand to each one of us and told us the Story. Now the question is who will we tell? Who will we reach out to and invite into the circle? Who will we go and tell?
The Rev. Susie Skinner, a retired priest and co-founder of Confluence, conducts spiritual retreats in our Diocese of Missouri and leads Confluence pilgrimages to Iona.