January 6th is Epiphany. The day we celebrate the wise men (magi or kings) visit to the infant Jesus. When the wise men enter the home, they knelt down before the child and paid him homage, giving him gifts befitting a king. Pretty amazing for a group of foreigners who had no clue exactly for what they were looking. But when the star stop over the house where Jesus was located, Matthew says they were overjoyed. Their eyes were opened.
Following the day of Epiphany we enter into the season of Epiphany (Ordinary Time in some traditions). It is a time that is celebrated in how God opens the eyes of the people recognizing Jesus as Lord or King of all. The word Epiphany is Greek for “manifestation,” make known or reveal. How is it that Jesus has been made known to you – through the witness of family, teachers, priests, strangers, an event or through Scripture?
Sometimes people address these as “born again” experiences. I choose to call them faith experiences. All through my life God has opened my eyes to new understanding and greater faith. These manifestations are like “retro-rockets” that bolster our commitment to Christ and his mission.
One of those moments in my life was in ninth grade – just following my confirmation on Palm Sunday. I was worshipping at a Good Friday service and it dawned on me just what a gift God had given me in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why would God do this for me or anyone else??? And it was at that moment that simple little Sunday School song went through my mind, “Jesus loves me this I know…” I was overwhelmed with gratitude in the recognition of what true grace is.
More frequent manifestations (maybe not so overwhelming but still faith building moments) come in the study of Scriptures. As an ordained minister of 38 years, I have preached the three year lectionary cycle over 16 times. I am forever amazed when studying and reflecting on the upcoming week’s lessons how something new brings a different insight or greater understanding. I find that multiplies when studying these texts with others as God speaks to us in our sharing and observations.
I encourage you to endeavor to study scripture daily. Join a Bible Study. Rev. Carol provides an opportunity for members and friends of St. David’s to join in a Zoom discussion on scripture every Tuesday morning. Beginning this Tuesday, January 11 evening at 7:00pm I will be leading a Bible Study on the assigned Bible readings (Lectionary). Be prepared to find epiphanies, both small and great, as we reflect on the upcoming Sunday’s lessons. There are no prerequisites. You don’t need to be a Bible Scholar to attend – just an open mind. More details about the study are found below. I hope to see you there!
May our hearts and minds be open to the work of the Holy Spirit and greater depths of faith!
Blessed Epiphany season you all!