the Epiphany Fog

fogIt’s Epiphany today … a day that makes me think of journeying. Journeys can also make me think of beginnings and endings.

This Epiphany I am hopeful. I am hopeful that I am on the edge of something new, at the foot of some steep climb, on the brink of something both tough and exciting. Even though today in Gillingham was just another day like any other day before the new year of before the Epiphany as we mark it today, I believe I have never been here before. I know what I am aiming for, and I may even be able to see something on the horizon, but I am not sure just yet how we quite get there.

Today the journeys we think about in Epiphany give me encouragement and inspire me to carry on. The Magi appear on the Christmas scene (they probably came years later but no matter…). While at the scene they are warned about not returning the same way. That speaks masses to me.

Where I am now is a unique place. Experiences, relationships, happenings all combine to mean, that even if I wanted to return, it is not possible to return the same way. Events mean that new routes and new ways have to be investigated and explored in whatever journey we take. New paths have to be trodden that others may follow in the future.

The second journey is of Mary and Joseph fleeing with Jesus. There is a sense of speed, of plans going out of the window, and last minute improvisations being made. This is not a tidy ending to the Christmas story …. and actually, and very frustratingly, we don’t know what happened as the gospels pick up the story again when Jesus is around 30 … apart from that moment when the boy Jesus was asking questions of the rabbis in the synagogue.

This second journey is encouraging because it speaks loads of untied ends. Nothing is neatly packaged (is it ever in the bible?) and so the sense of worry and fear and unknowing that I am experiencing now seems kind of right.

What I see before me in The Epiphany are two Star Trek journeys …. two journeys into the unknown.

So … here is to 2014 … to boldly go …. well maybe not boldly …. but go at least!

journey of discovery

Today is Epiphany …

Lord Jesus
may your light reveal our path
as in the past when it guided magi on a journey
of discovery.
May your light lead us
so that we too can discover the miracle
and worship you …
word
child
saviour
King

Epiphany Jouney’s

Today was Epiphany and this evening in the cathedral we marked this with a Eucharist service rather than evensong.

The whole Epiphany thing, where we remember the visit of the Magi and the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, seems to me to be all about journeying.

While reflecting today, listening to Neil’s sermon this evening, and after reading Maggi’s final reflection in Beginnings and Endings, I was struck by the journey of the magi and how that journey connected with my thoughts here on the life changing disruption a baby causes.

The encounter with the Christ child for the magi was also disruptive. They traveled, following the star but had to return home by a different route. For them, as for others, the encounter with this child meant things could never be the same again. For them, it meant returning home via different route. For them it gave opportunity of fresh discovery.

That sense of returning home by a different route resonates with me at this point in time. A couple of people have asked me how I am feeling about ‘stuff’ over the last few days and I must admit that as well as starting to become frustrated with waiting I feel very much as if I know where I am going, or I roughly know where I think I should be, but that I need to find a new route to get there. I don’t necessarily think it’s a new fresh path – I don’t think the Magi would have made a fresh track, it would probably have been walked by others but it was new to them as they had never taken the route. I wonder whether there is a path, a route, an ancient track that needs rediscovering, uncovering and walking along again.

But it is not just about the destination is it! There is something about the actual journey itself. There is something about noticing what you are passing through, the ‘lie of the land’ and the context of what you are seeing.

One of my little frustrations is that our family car came with a free DVD player. It’s great for long journey’s when you ahve 3 children and when we travel to Dorset, Devon or Cornwall it comes in very handy for a peaceful journey. But … when we travel short distances, such as 20 minutes to Bluewater or 40 minutes to Canterbury the children have started to like to watch DVD’s for this short time. They plug in via their headphones to whatever film they choose. While they do this, the outside world that they are passing through whizzes by un-noticed.

I can’t help but think they are missing out on stuff that children of previous generations would have noticed. Things go by and my children travel through areas untouched by the outside world. They know the start and end of their journey well, but the middle part is missing.

I feel there is something in this ‘journey stuff’ for me to reflect upon. I am asking and wondering what it might be that God wishes me to notice on the way. I guess to notice things properly there is a need to journey slowly and register and take note of what God puts in the path of the traveler. To pioneer is to go slow and allow God to show me how to discover stuff afresh.

So … here’s to more of that frustrating waiting then!

Epiphany Baptism

It’s the start of Epiphany today, a time when we remember the 3 wise men visiting Jesus and bringing their gifts.

For me, Epiphany is all about revealing Jesus for who he is. The wise men brought gifts, and in that act tell the world that this is the Christ child, God incarnate.

Epiphany (the time from now until lent this year) is a time for me to consider what I can do to to help those around me to be able to make the connection that this child was God incarnate.

Epiphany is a time for me to think about the ongoing mission of God.

This morning in church Sam was baptised. This amazing 11 year old who we have had the pleasure to see grow up shared that following his baptism he was praying that he would have more opportunities to share Jesus with his friends.

What better time than Epiphany is there to make such a commitment! Excellent Sam!

Epiphany

The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. In some Central and South American countries influenced by Catholic tradition, Three Kings’ Day, or the night before, is the time for opening Christmas presents. In some eastern churches, Epiphany or the Theophany commemorates Jesus’ baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas. In some churches the day is celebrated as Christmas, with Epiphany/Theophany occurring on January 19th.

As with most aspects of the Christian liturgical calendar, Epiphany has theological significance as a teaching tool in the church. The Wise Men or Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus were the first Gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as “King” and so were the first to “show” or “reveal” Jesus to a wider world as the incarnate Christ. This act of worship by the Magi, which corresponded to Simeon’s blessing that this child Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32), was one of the first indications that Jesus came for all people, of all nations, of all races, and that the work of God in the world would not be limited to only a few.
(source: The Voice)

Today is Epiphany when traditionally we focus again on mission. Today reminds us God embodied in Jesus came for all. Today reminds us again to reach out to our neighbours in love.