The Epiphany of the Lord
January 5, 2020
Today, in Mercy, we travel with Isaiah, Paul, Matthew and the Three Kings into the revealed glory of the Lord!
It’s not always easy to find that glory though, is it?
Have you ever heard a troubled friend say, “I feel as if God has abandoned me! I can’t find God in my life!”? Well, I’d like to tell you a little story about that.
One spring morning, two country kids were walking to school across their local railroad tracks. They had been drilled in the three essential steps before crossing: STOP, LOOK and LISTEN! On this particular morning, as they diligently executed these steps, they heard an unexpected, barely-audible sound. Four tiny orphaned ducklings had taken refuge in a gully under one of the nearby ties. What an epiphany!
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The word means much more than just “discovery”. It means an unexpected revelation of divine grace within our ordinary circumstances. The Unexpected within the Ordinary.
When the Three Kings experienced the Epiphany, it was not simply “dumb luck”. They had prepared for that moment throughout their entire lives, just never imagining where they would find it — hidden in a cold stable. Through study, prayer and living good lives, they had perfected the all-important practice: STOP, LOOK and LISTEN to your ordinary life; to what is happening just underneath the surface, underneath appearances, underneath the silence. Allow yourself to follow the star and be surprised by God!
It is in the life underneath that God waits to be revealed to us everyday. The revelation doesn’t come like a loud, anticipated train. It comes in the unexpected whisper we would have missed had we not stopped, looked and listened to our lives. It comes in the otherwise unspoken need of a friend, in the finally recognized destructive practice or relationship we must change, in the belated act of forgiveness, in the long over-due and grateful acknowledgement of our life as the blessing that it is.
Before we go too far in this New Year, think about this practice. When we feel as if God or the Spirit is not part of our lives, we may not be looking in the right places. Each morning and/or evening, give yourself at least fifteen quiet minutes to breathe. Point a telescope to your day, and ask yourself “Where is God hidden in these moments?” If we really STOP, LOOK and LISTEN, eventually, the Star of the Epiphany will rise for us!
Music: Star of Wonder – lyrics and the music written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. circa 1857; sung here by Jennifer Avalon