At the End of Epiphany
Over the last 6 weeks we have been in the church season of Epiphany – the season after Christmas where the fullness of what “for unto us a child is born” really means begins to be seen.
Where It Started…
We began Epiphany reflecting on the Magi who, through reading the stars discovered that a new king was born and travelled from afar to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus. There are many things significant about this, not least of which for many of us here in Thunder Bay in the year 2023, is that these were non-Jewish people showing up to declare Jesus as king; they somehow saw that this baby was not just for one nation and one people, but was for the whole world.
That idea of “seeing” has also been woven through our Sunday gatherings over the last 6 weeks as we have been asking God through song to “Open the eyes of my heart”; and as we have been turning to the parables of Jesus in our teaching series, “And He Told Them a Story…” – stories he told to both open and close the eyes of his audience depending on their willingness to enter into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Epiphany reminds us that there is so much to see and to discover when it comes to Jesus. We are invited to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open as we follow him, and allow him to shift our perspectives and calibrate our perceptions to the timbres and hues of his kingdom… because sometimes it is so subtle.
Where It’s Going…
On that first Sunday of Epiphany our stage was set up with a remixing of some of our Christmas decor – the Star of Bethlehem in the night sky above a backdrop of lit trees – but over the weeks, piece-by-piece, we have been moving further through the season and further from that warm glow of Christmas.
As we now approach the threshold of Lent, it is beneficial for us to take stock of what we have seen and what we have heard – the glimpses and foretastes and epiphanies of the kingdom to come – so that we, like the disciples seeing the transfigured Christ in Matthew 17, may have something to hold us and anchor us amidst the temptation, grief, and eventual silence of the Lenten journey that we must walk through before we arrive at the new day that dawns on Easter Sunday.
Two invitations for you today:
1. Set aside a few moments in the next couple of days to reflect on where you have encountered God over the last 6 weeks – in an experience, a song, his Word, a sermon, a conversation – and what that has potentially revealed about himself and his kingdom. And consider sharing it with someone in your life – a partner, a friend, a pastor – who can perhaps bring further insight and clarity; this is one of the gifts of life together in the Body of Christ.
2. Join us on Wednesday, February 22 at 7PM for our Ash Wednesday service as we gather to sing, pray, reflect, partake of communion, and mark ourselves with ashes that we may enter fully into the Lenten journey with intention together.