Epiphany (Koine Greek: ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation”, “striking appearance”) or Theophany (Ancient Greek (ἡ) Θεοφάνεια, Τheophaneia meaning “vision of God”), which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ
What a blessing and a joy to be with you all tonight.
Please over these next days as the bitter and dangerous cold descends from Hades, please be extremely careful, watch out for one another, check in on neighbors and friends and anyone you know who could be of poor reasoning. Above all, be safe.
You know I love the Christmas season with all its stories,
its symbols and its gatherings, its liturgies, its prayer.
I know for many it is a challenging time as well and I am always left with a sense of never having gotten done all the things that I had planned to do…
in some ways, I find myself like the magi…searching, but not always knowing exactly what for…I wonder if others feel that way?
Let’s have a bit of fun with these stories and these readings tonight. A small gift will accompany every answer, but there are two rules….one answer per question and only if your hand is raised! Second rule….you can only win once!
Rev. Joan will be assisting me….
How many wise men came to see the baby Jesus?
What were their names?
- Melchior (also Melichior), a Persian scholar;
- Caspar (also Gaspar, Jaspar, Jaspas, Gathaspa, an Indian scholar;
- Balthazar (also Balthasar, Balthassar, and Bithisarea), an Arabian scholar.
Where were they from?
Where did they find the baby Jesus?
Rev. Colleen said she loved playing with the manger scene when she was growing up and so did I…..I used to hide Jesus, much to my mothers shagrin and used to love taking the camels and wise men and put them all over the house moving them every day from Christmas until today closer to the manger scene…..it was a blast to dream and imagine all that was happening….
but the sad reality is that even though I learned their names and what they did and saw and had a blast doing it, none of it is based on the truth of the Gospel….
it was based on romantic religious imagination…not bad just not quite authentic….
The question of the Feast we celebrate today might be for us…..are we still seeking the truth or have we settled for the answers of our misguided religious imagination?
You see if there is one thing….
one lesson that comes from Matthews Gospel with regard to this whole experience of the magi it is this…..
God is revealed to different people in different ways…
Mary experienced an angel,
Joseph had dreams,
the shepherds had a host of angels,
the magi had a star,
Simieon and Anna held the infant in their
and God was made manifest in that moment.
If we learn anything my friends, maybe we can learn the really Good News…
that God meets us right where we are at….
just waiting for us to be open to God’s self revelation in that moment.
The whole of the Spiritual Life is a journey of exploration, discovery and searching.
The journey of holiness is a constant unfolding of the mystery we call God in every moment of our lives.
From the hectic schedules to the mundane moments of boredom to the silence of solitude.
Every day, every moment, every experience contains within itself the fullness of God’s self revelation.
It is why some mystics like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen and countless others could be swept up in beatific union with God some by only whispering the beginning words of a prayer….
The challenge we face is that most of us have only begun the journey of holiness….touched it, tweaked it or even acknowledged it.
But even if that is all we have done, it is enough to be inspired to keep searching….
grab a hold of those moments…
ones you remember or can recall…
let your imagination flow and follow those moments….
Because God is there and God is here….
In a handshake, a hug, a smile, a good cup of coffee or a simple meal….
revel in the joy of being alive…
allow what consumes and devours our holiness to slip away,
just be and enjoy the embrace of the Divine.
All we have….all we are guaranteed is this moment, would it not be awesome if we could live fully in each of them?
It is so challenging…it can be so hard to remember to do…but it is the core of holiness to live this day, this moment as fully as possible.
Just imagine, Jesus is smiling right at you…can your heart feel it…
When it happens you will know, that the star you have been following will have come to rest on that place, just like the magi did!