On this Feast of the Epiphany, as we begin a fresh liturgical season, we recall the wonderment of the three Magi visiting the Christ child in his lowly manger. The Bible tells us the Magi traveled a long distance, just as Mary and Joseph traversed approximately 97 miles by foot and donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Assuredly, all were tired. Their journeys had brought them to a relatively unremarkable place, and yet there were holy surprises in store — the epiphany that God had chosen to incarnate, to come in human flesh and dwell among them.
In my own life during the long journey of this past year, and I am sure in yours, there have certainly been moments for epiphany — great and small. Some of the small epiphanies for me have included noticing how the beautiful durability of our parish community allows for communal faith to grow in unusual places. As it turns out, even a Zoom call can be infused with the sacred — with a moment where a prayer is spoken, or a word of encouragement is passed, and a hush falls over the virtual room. The connection of our hearts and our love for one another as the body of Christ transcends time and space.
This season has also reinforced the importance of the call to all Christians to engage in the work of justice. As the pandemic continues to highlight gross systemic inequalities, Christians reaffirm that by believing in God’s incarnation, in the astounding idea that the God who made all things came and dwelled among us amidst the world’s messiness, we also believe that there are demands on us to create a more just world.
Coming up this month during Epiphanytide, Discovery will be hosting a series at 10am on Sundays focusing on the prophets of the Hebrew Bible and the ways in which they admonish us to do our part in making all things new. The prophets model for us the ongoing vocation of epiphany by showing us new visions from God. Their language can be striking and even harsh, but they provoked the hearers of their time, and us today, to take action to rectify injustice — to be in the world’s messiness, and yet not accept that messiness as the end of the story. They help us to see a world born anew, infused with God’s presence and care for every person.
I look forward to seeing each of you in this new year, and I hope you will join us this Sunday.
Executive Director of Faith Formation and Education
Resources: Prepare to Look at the Prophets of the Hebrew Bible
The Bible Project offers a brief video introducing us to who the prophets were and what they were up to.
As we look toward Dr. Martin Luther King Sunday on January 17, Toba Spitzer, senior rabbi in Newton, Massachusetts, reminds us, as Dr. King did, how the Hebrew prophets call us to let “Justice roll down like waters” (Amos 5:24).
And please check out this lovely painting of the “Adoration of the Magi” by Cornelis Engebrechtsz from the Art Institute of Chicago. What a wonder that God has come!