In the church year, we are in the “Season after the Epiphany”. Too often I hear folk say we are in the “Season of Epiphany”.
OK, before I get into this, let’s do some definitions. If the word has a capital E, it means; “a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ.” If the e is not capitalized, then the meaning is, “a moment in which you sud- denly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.” Now, the Magi (Three Kings) are a story of how the Christ is manifested to the gentiles (Jewish word for people who are not jews). These Magi had an epiphany about a star they had been watching and how it would lead them to discover a child born to be the King of the Jews. After this epiphany, they made their journey. I would invite us to live into the formal title of this church season: the Season after the Epiphany. Or for our sakes; “What to do and how should we live after our epiphany(s)? In the scriptures for the Sundays following Epiphany, they start with Jesus’ baptism and finish with the story of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John up a mountain where he is Transfigured before them into his glorified (resurrected) state. I.e., Transfiguration Sunday.
So....all that to ask myself/ourselves, “How do we live in response to our epiphany (new and more full understanding) of who Jesus, the Christ is in my life? An epiphany has a changing effect on a person’s life. In coming to a new, more profound understanding of something, it effects how we live in light of this “game changing” insight. I know that as I grow in my relationship with the divine, it is not an epiphany so much as my spiritual jour- ney is a pattern or series of new, more enlightening, more full, more mature, or more complete understandings. Maybe the journey of discipleship is the process and progress of responding to the epiphanies the Holy Spirit brings into one’s heart and mind.
And just as the Sunday Gospel readings through the season after the Epiphany take us from Jesus’ baptism to the disciples’ epiphany experience on the mountain top, so we are invited to journey in faith discovery during these weeks between the story of the Maji and Ash Wednesday. How might God be speaking to you to open your mind and heart to make ready for the coming Lent? What might be some ways or spiritual disciplines you could lean into to make these weeks a time of lifestyle response? In what ways could you discover fuller understandings of who God is to you and who you are in light of God’s great love for you? Too often we can allow this these weeks to be a bit of wasted space between the Hub bub and hurry of the Christmas season and all the Lenten business and practices. Rather, let this be a time of discovery, insight, changed habit, and more inten- tional discipleship as you, I, and all the church respond and react to the event of the Epiphany that we might come to our own epiphanies. May our journey this season move us toward a “transfiguring” of our hearts and minds, our spirits and our lives.
Be God’s, Pastor Jim