Epiphany: When the Star Beckons
Lectionary Readings for Epiphany: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
“They set out; and there ahead of them, went the star they had seen at it’s rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When the wise men saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.”
Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season (which, let’s be honest, involved a whole lot of waiting!), and moves us into a new season characterized by active seeking. In particular, Epiphany takes its themes from the journey of the “wise men”’— pagan astrologers who had been actively searching the skies for indications of a new reality that was emerging; when they saw that special phenomenon in the sky, they wasted no time in leaving their familiar setting to actively seek the light of God’s presence.
Their journey involved taking initiative, reorienting their lives to a new reality, and striking out on an unknown path with courage and determination. It required them to trust themselves and what they had seen, to negotiate shrewdly with a jealous king, and to believe in the power and veracity of their dreams.
In this culminating event of the Christmas season we, too, are invited on our own journey of actively seeking God in new ways, in unlikely places, and then following wherever the light of God’s presence leads us. Like these intrepid travelers we, too, have heard the news about a fresh coming of Christ into the world but it’s not enough to hear other people’s accounts second hand. We are compelled to seek out our own personal encounter, no matter the cost.
As we celebrate Epiphany, we invite you to take a quiet moment this weekend to read the story of the magi (Matthew 2:1-12) once again with fresh eyes and an open heart. Then engage the poem below and wonder, Where do I find myself in this story today? What phrase in the poem stands out and captures how I sense God beckoning me to a new journey in this new year?
Kate Compston, Bread of Tomorrow
©Ruth Haley Barton, 2023. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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