Monday, 5 January 2009

Epiphany




A guest blog from the Revd Ron Keynes.


One of the sad things about the season of Epiphany is that it tends to occur when people are on holidays, and so miss out on the emphasis. On top of that, the somewhat weird title of the Season can be off-putting too.


In a culture when there is rarely complete darkness, we miss the dramatic point and purpose of this Season. Quite some years ago, I had a young lass from a previous parish stay with me at Riverton. There the Rectory was somewhat out of town. When we retired for the night, there was a sudden yell from her room! When I wondered what was wrong, the scared reply was that she could not see a thing. She had been used to city living, when streetlights were on all night. The outcome was that we left a light on at the back of the house so she felt safe. Light! Epiphany!


Epiphany, you see, is what happens when suddenly there is light in a dark place. Not only does it help to see where you are; it also enables one to see where we need to head. And that is one of the powerful messages of Epiphany. Stars for the Magi; and a vast change of direction for the Jewish faithful. No longer was religion something for personal and individual comfort; this Faith is a direction to head for all humans who looked for the truth about life. It was certainly so for those Magi, who to all intents and purposes were personae non grata as far as Israel was concerned. I dare to suggest that some more recent Christians have been off-put to realize that these were occultists, but who dared to follow wherever the truth led them.


One of my comments about the readings chosen for the Season this year (RCL, Year B) is that the stress offered to us is that not only is this Faith once delivered meant to be that light to lighten the Gentiles, but – and I ask you to ponder the readings this Season – that the People of God are called, themselves, to be lights themselves. Part of our role as the People of God is - like those Magi – to follow the truth and to share it with anyone we meet who is not yet aware of the realities. Christianity is not for religious people: it is for honest searchers after truth, and for anyone else who catches sight of the light. ‘Religion’ never was a personal and private matter. This Faith is for the reconciliation of all people, to each other as much as to God.

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