I am looking for an Epiphany today. That seems like a pretty good request, seeing that it’s Epiphany and all. Epiphany is celebrated today, January 6th and is the time we remember those wise guys, the magi, coming from afar and worshipping at the feet of Jesus…if not necessarily at the same time as the shepherds. Epiphany means “manifestation of God” and the folks here at Girdwood Chapel are very used to me driving that point into the ground on Epiphany Sunday, which we celebrated last week here.
I have always found it interesting, indeed surprising, indeed scandalous how the Lord God Almighty chose to manifest himself. Baby. Manger. Animal stall. Poor shepherds. Really the only ones with any means that make an appearance in that early story are those magi…and they show up a bit later. Everyone else is dirt poor or at least on the low end of the social-economic ladder.
Jesus comes into the mess…the muck…the brokenness of our world. It’s as Paul says in Philippians 4:6-8:
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
God comes to us in the stuff of life. It has been said that, because of the incarnation there nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred. God enters here. He is manifested and revealed in the dark areas of our lives. He is the light of the world who comes to us.
And so the prophet Isaiah proclaims:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:3)
And while I’m not one to go on and on about how my spiritual life is a mess (which, one could say it is) or how life is terrible (which it isn’t) there are some areas I’m looking for an Epiphany, a little manifestation from the Lord…areas where I need God’s light to shine.
I could use a little epiphanizing (?) or a little manifestation of God as I struggle with how to work with the church I serve to make some financial progress. We just went to a 3/4 time pastoral role and we (both the church and I) would like to be back on our financial feet in a year. There’s a lot of work to do here. I could use a little epiphany (or maybe a big one).
I could use a little manifestation of God as I tackle a Bible reading plan for the year. While I’ve read t all of the Bible for various classes, both those I’ve attended and those I’ve taught, I’m hoping and praying for some new revelations as I make it through over 12 months.
I could use a little light in the darkness as I try to get a new blog up and running. This blogging thing has actually been wonderful for my spiritual life and the things I’ve read and reflected on have had a profound influence on me. I’d like to “step it up” a bit.
I don’t look at my life, my family, my job, my health and feel like the world is crashing in around me. I’m aware of God’s presence. I feel the love of family and friends. I do enjoy what I do. But, I’m praying for an Epiphany today. I would like to have “The Star” guide me into the presence of Christ in a new way and then return by a new way myself.
And then I’ll just have to figure out what gift I should lay at Christ’s feet. I’m plum out of Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh. I’ll probably need to pull the verse from “In the Bleak Midwinter” out of my memory…
What canI give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb:
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
And that would be enough.
Bring it on.