Epiphany appears on the liturgical calendar twelve days after Christmas (January 6).
The scripture texts for this day speak of revealing: Magi follow the star because its light reveals the birth of a king, the prophet announces the dawning of a new day in the life of a nation; and the apostle makes it known that the Kingdom of God is open to everyone. This is a powerful message to Christians and to the world and a reason to dedicate a special day on our calendar.
Epiphany should be considered as more than a date in Biblical or liturgical history. Epiphany is celebrated every time…in each moment where individuals, committees, congregations and denominations…the Church…glimpses how God is at work among us and in the world.
Epiphany is the ‘ah-hah’ moments in faith and life. It comes to us in surprising ways. We experience Epiphany through a child’s voice or in the silence of the forest. We share an Epiphany in the awkward, silent presence as we sit alongside a grieving person or in the words we pray alongside a young person who is leaving home for college. We can celebrate Epiphany while enjoying the taste of pizza with Jr. High students or traditional church-casserole or Jello salad at a church supper.
Here are some of my insights into Epiphany or ‘ah-hah’ God moments:
- Epiphany, or ‘ah-hah’-God moments cannot be planned or scheduled on a calendar, they come to us in unannounced times and in surprising ways and through ordinary circumstances.
- Epiphany or ‘ah-hah’ God moments can be anticipated. It’s always important to ask ourselves “What is God saying to us?” Remember, the Magi were watching the horizon as the star appeared. They had already purchased the gifts they presented to the new born King. They were prepared, only they didn’t know exactly what they were prepared for.
- Epiphany or ‘ah-hah’ God moments should never be dismissed as unimportant or trivial. Ignoring them is perilous to our calling and the church’s mission.
- Epiphany or ‘ah-hah’ God moments are not always clarifying; they do not always provide the answer. The Magi went to the palace looking for a new born King. Imagine their bewilderment when they discovered that the baby they sought was found in a simple, common house.
As I ponder the start of the new year, I find myself thinking about where God will provide our presbytery with an “ah-hah” moment. The past year was filled with many good things but also included sadness and departures. I suspect that many in our presbytery long for an Epiphany moment. What I pray is that we will not attempt to pre-determine and pre-interpret what or when or how that moment will occur.
I ask that you join with me in watching and waiting for Epiphany. May we find ourselves surprised and overjoyed in the ‘ah-hah’ of God.