The 12th Day is for Showing – Happy Epiphany! ©
by Rev. Jim Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a thought or two for those (count me in) who operate on the conviction that the Epiphany story is an elegant myth. If you believe that the fulfillment in time and space of God’s Word requires the manifestation of divinity in humanity then count me in. If you believe that this relationship is a global, even cosmic, treasure with implications for upholding true values then count me in. If you believe the insights by which humanity comes to worship this divine Word made flesh are to be trusted then count me in. If you believe that life is modeled on an experience of dying in order to rise to new life then count me in.
However, if you believe that this elegant myth of wise astrologers visiting baby Jesus in Bethlehem, or Nazareth, or Egypt is in fact a historical event then count me out.
How glorious it is to have an insight into a message that the whole world awaits – even as the world may seem unaware of its own expectancy. Equally glorious is the beauty of the entire cosmos expanding where nothing was – simply because the Creator wanted to show such beauty.
Yes, the Epiphany story has a nice Christmas finality to it. It’s 12 day progression gives us plenty of time to tell the story. Such elegance and beauty illuminates our prayers, our souls, our spirits, our thanksgiving for the Word made flesh. So, let’s not waste such elegance.
We do justice to the story by gathering in prayer. Regardless of one’s belief (or not) in a well told story, one’s openness to God’s showing the Word of Life receives the reward of blessings. For example, when one sees the good sense of the command to love one another, then one finds others who see the same. Or, when one is the show-er who makes attempts at spreading the wideness of God’s love, then the height and the breadth of the light of good acts also discovers others who do the same. Or, when the pray-er seeks deeply into one’s own soul only to experience the light of assurance this one also finds others who do the same. (After all, when one prays don’t we always want to seek out others to pray with?)
This showing, this manifestation of God’s love for all humankind, all the universe, all creation sheds an overpowering light and dims the effects of so much pettiness and abusive acts that too often surround us. The stories we tell must abandon such actions in our turning to the light.
So, on Epiphany if you think a story of gold, frankincense, and myrrh is about baby gifts you miss the understanding that value, worship, and sacrifice are caught up in God. We live as we believe. We act as we are shown. We follow as the Star leads us.
A Prayer for Manifestation by Jim Ryan
A tale of visitation by star gazers bearing gifts
Told again to believers
Breaks open the illumination of your Word,
Loving and Generous Creator.
Show us the value and treasure of you in us
The prayerful worship of us for you
The life-renewing sacrifice of the Word amongst us.
By these gifts let us be light to the world as we follow the star of
Jesus, today, all days and nights, and forever.