Epiphany, a burst of light, an insight, a new clarity, a revelation. January 6, today, is the Feast of the Epiphany. This celebration is rooted in the altogether familiar story of the visitation of the Magi, counted wise, perhaps magicians or soothsayers. Called “kings,” but not likely really regal, no matter how outlandishly they may have dressed!
These strangers, however mysterious, came “from afar.” They were not locals. They were not Jews. The star that lead them was their beacon from a far country. They came bearing gifts and offering adoration. They are Gentiles. They came from the people the Jews call “the Nations,” that is, everyone else in the whole world!
Their pilgrimage set a path for us, from wherever we have come. These visitors began a sequence of events that brought us close to God. We have followed in their tracks, even now.
In 2013, the Feast of the Epiphany fell on a Sunday. It was on that day, that Sunday, that Epiphany, nine years ago today, that the remnant congregation of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church ventured across the driveway that separates the chapel from the church building and entered the church building for the first time in many years. Having been exiled from this familiar space by sorrowful circumstance, the building was once again open for the prayers and offerings of those pilgrims.
Amy and I were helping on a once a month basis in those times, and we presided and preached on that particular Epiphany. We were in the number who crossed the drive, carrying books, candles, bread, wine, water, altar linen and whatever else we needed for our praise of God. Some of you who are reading this were in that noble band!
Just now, Epiphany 2022, we seem to be making another move. Not a geographical move but a move of some other sort. Dorian McGlannan, our interim for a time, has left off so as to find better health and healing. That is surely our prayer.
In the meantime, Amy and I are going to help see to whatever we can. We will be serving at St. Stephen’s twice a month through Easter, offering pastoral care as needs arise. Diana Peters, Mary Green, Jeff Neuberger, Tom Johnson and Harry Anderson will also be helping on Sundays. In some ways, all this will be as familiar to you and as it is to us.
As we set out on yet another adventure, what a happy circumstance to be setting out on Epiphany, the Festival of Light. The Light is always leading us on, drawing us into something else, something new. Try as we may to contain it, to neutralize it, to domesticate it, we cannot The Light is not so much whimsical or capricious as it is drawing us into a world more just, more humble, more redolent with praise than we can imagine. That the Light led us, years ago, across the driveway and across years, is indisputable. And while the Light will continue to lead us, that Light will not rest here. We cannot contain that energy. It will always be drawing us into whatever God’s future holds for us.