BY REV. THOMAS EARLY - ST. ALBAN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
On Jan. 6, many liturgical churches celebrate the Epiphany. Epiphany marks the last Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Christians who have the Epiphany begins a season of discovery and revelation. It starts by remembering the wise men’s revelation that the son of humble parents in a manger was the promised messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. It continues with the miracle at Cana where Jesus turns water into wine. The season after the Epiphany culminates in some of the apostles following behind Jesus up the Mountain of Transfiguration. On that mountain Jesus’ is revealed in all his glory as the Messiah and the son of God, the knowledge of which throws the apostles to the ground.
Many congregations are called to action each Sunday to feed the hungry and to minister to the poor. We are often reminded that we are Christ’s hands in the world. We might find ourselves singing, "they will know we are Christians by our Love." All of these draw us out into a world desperate for a knowledge of God’s life changing love. But I wonder, sometimes, if we too quickly depart from the source of that love. I wonder if we allow ourselves enough time with the one on whose behalf we serve others. I wonder if we give ourselves the gift of contemplating the gift of God with us that the wise men had on the Epiphany.
During this time between Christmas and Lent, maybe you might dedicate some time to read a great Christian Classic or learn a new way to pray. Perhaps you might pick up "The Pilgrims Progress" or "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis. Or maybe look for a new classic like, "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lammott.
This is also a good time to learn a new prayer practice. I have loved learning about and praying in the method of the Jesus Prayer. Some are rediscovering ancient method of prayer such as walking a Prayer Labyrinth.
In any case, I pray that this could be a season when we might spend some time basking in the light of Jesus. I pray it might be a time when we open ourselves to a new revelation about the God who decided to dwell with us and even the least among us. We serve them best when we see them as Christ. Epiphany can be a time when we train ourselves to have eyes like the wise men who saw a powerful king in a baby and the God of the universe in humble barn.