‘Tis the time of Epiphany when we of the church are called to “show forth” or “demonstrate” the faith that is in us. The news of Jesus' birth has been revealed first to the shepherds "who proclaimed all that they had seen and heard" to those who would listen, and then to the Wise Ones who traveled such a great distance from the East to see this newborn King for themselves.
Once they had found Jesus and offered their gifts of allegiance, the "Wise Men" returned to their homes with this new news, likely struggling to find words with which they could speak of their extraordinary and never-before-envisioned epiphany with God. Their challenge, as it is for us in our time, is to discern how to speak of our communion with God without creating confusion and bewilderment in those who listen to us.
Baptizing six infants this Sunday (Feast of the Baptism of our Lord) at church, we spoke of the hope that they (and we) would be encouraged to embrace inquiring and discerning hearts, courage and will as well as the gift of joy and wonder in all the works of God. This sounds as if we are encouraged to be inspirited with God—to let go our “rational” defenses that we, too, might embrace the deep joy and wonder in our hearts and souls. One might say that we are encouraged to loosen up a bit, learning to trust God.
W.H. Auden in his Christmas Oratorio (For the Time Being) speaks of the frustration all of us know of speaking of what we know and believe to others, many of whom are likely not too interested in what we have to say. Auden, speaking through Simeon the old man who has waited his whole life to see the Messiah, says: their witness could only be received as long as it was vaguely misunderstood, as long as it seemed impossible….because it was clearly understood as absurd.
The Word of God has been made flesh. Epiphany is the time and occasion when we speak of what we know and boldly proclaim our faith. We have seen the light—the radiance of God alive in our lives and in the world. We are encouraged to boldly, brazenly speak that Truth, even to those who may think it absurd or impossible. This is our challenge and our charge at Christ Church. To speak the Truth in love, in word and deed. Through the course of this year this will be our focus—to find the words and the will and the way to speak and live the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It will be grand. Join us.