Epiphany: Who am I now?

Guidance on using the lectionary.
Lectionary readings for January 7, 2018: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany originated in the Eastern Church in the third century as a feast on January 6 to honor our Lord’s birth and baptism. It ranked with Easter and Pentecost as one of the three principal festivals of the Church and featured the blessing of the baptismal water.

Beginning in the fourth century, the Western Church celebrated Epiphany to commemorate that Christ was manifested to the Magi, who were Gentiles. These wise, royal foreigners remind us that Jesus, King of the Jews, was born for all of us.

The word epiphany has come to mean “a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something . . . an intuitive grasp of reality . . .”, in addition to its traditional meaning, “the manifestation of God in earthly form.”As we observe Epiphany today, we celebrate the journey to the manger and the showing forth of God in unexpected places.

O God,
who am I now?
Once, I was secure

in familiar territory
in my sense of belonging

unquestioning of 

the norms of my culture
the assumptions built into my language
the values shared by my society.

But now you have called me out and away from home
and I do not know where you are leading.
I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.
I have only a beckoning star to follow.

Journeying God,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make

toward a wealth not dependent on possessions
toward a wisdom not based on books
toward a strength not bolstered by might
toward a God not confined to heaven

but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized…

Help me find myself
as I walk in others’ shoes.

Kate Compston, England, 1990
From Bread of Tomorrow: Prayers for the Church Year

Transforming Center

We desire to see churches and Christian organizations become communities of authentic spiritual transformation – and that begins with transforming leaders. We seek to strengthen the souls of pastors and leaders, equipping them to guide their churches and organizations to become spiritually transforming communities that discern and do the will of God in their settings. Read more about the Transforming Center.


  1. Vanessa on January 8, 2018 at 8:46 am

    I’m new to using the lectionary. This week readings should be from the Second Sunday After Epiphany

    January 14, 2018 in anticipation of Sunday January 14th correct? Thank you!

  2. Mary on January 6, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Dear Ruth, Thanks so much for sharing Ms. Compston’s poem which describes our heart’s cry for the Lord’s leading in 2018. To be sensitive to His Holy Spirit, to be brave in following His leading into the unknown, and for reassurance that He is with us along the way as our ‘Journeying God’. Every message you share with us is so uplifting and encouraging – equipping us to positively deal with the many issues of those we minister to. You are a blessing!

    • Ruth Barton on January 10, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Thank you!

  3. Art on January 6, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Great analogy between the magis’ journey following the star and our own spiritual journey. Thanks, Ruth!

    • Ruth Barton on January 10, 2018 at 9:40 am

      You’re welcome. One of the reasons I love marking Epiphany is that it celebrates the faith journey itself–the journey into the unknown in response to something new God is stirring within us. That’s the journey I always want to be on!

  4. Karen Keller on January 6, 2018 at 10:37 am

    This was a blessing to me!!! I would like to receive more from the Transforming Center

    • Jeffery James on January 8, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Thanks for your kind words and welcome to our online community. If you would like to be the first to receive eReflections, you can sign up here:

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