|Parker Palmer writes, “It’s so easy to look but not see what’s really there… For example, we “look” at another person and see only what’s on the surface, failing to see the hopes and fears of every human heart. It’s also easy to look at the world around us and see only banality, corruption, and violence. We miss all the good that’s there, the “hidden wholeness” that lies beneath the brokenness of our world.”|
I would like to think of the Feast of the Epiphany as a sign of the hidden wholeness of the world. It is like one of those mythological origin stories where the identity and future of a hero is signalled by the events at their birth. The joy of the wise ones heralds the joy that will be known throughout the earth.
Possibly the most startling historical fact about Jesus was his acceptance by the Gentiles; something which began in his lifetime and then exploded through the Mediterranean world as his coming was received as Good News to all humankind. The wise ones coming from the East to find the Christ child is the sign of a world no longer divided as Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, but reconciled so that humanity can be one in the unity of the Spirit. This wholeness remains hidden still in our world and we may at times only see ‘the banality, corruption and violence.’
As we navigate this new stage of the pandemic, the Feast of the Epiphany is a reminder of the hopes and fears of all our hearts and the good news that Christ has come, revealing the presence of God amongst us and the glory to be found in the world and one another. It is an opportunity to remember that Christ is present with us in every home and in every heart. There is brokenness, but there is also a great goodness in the world and in one another if only we have eyes to see. This difficult time could be an opportunity to cultivate a gentle gaze that finds goodness and beauty as we look upon the world and one another.
Grace and peace,
|A blessing for your house and family|
There is a beautiful epiphany practice called “chalking the doors” because priests traditionally would bless the house and then use chalk to write above the main entrance the specific year, separated by the letters C, M and B (e.g., 20+C+M+B+22, for the 2022 blessing). The letters stand for the Latin blessing, “Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May Christ Bless this House),” as well as the legendary names for the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
The inscription is applied as a prayer that Christ will bless our homes so marked and that he will stay with those who dwell there throughout the year and with any guest who may cross our threshold. In this time many of us are or will be confined to our homes for a time. Let us remind ourselves that God is with us whether we are in church or at home and redeeming any situation, however difficult, with love that drives out all fear. Maybe the chalking tradition could be a visual reminder this year of God’s presence being ever with us.