Is there another way?

 

Epiphany means many things, but in the context of this day, it is a kind of spark of understanding something new. In that way, the Magi follow a star in the sky and make their way to the Holy Land, wanting to see the newborn king. It would make sense to them to check in with the current king, after all, they themselves were kings, right?

Clearly Herod was not too happy to hear about another king. He was not so secure in his power, he was angry and defensive, he had a huge ego, and he wanted things his way, Continue reading

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Unlikely, unimaginable, unexpected

© Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

© Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

Today is Epiphany. Yes, this feast of the church was celebrated on Sunday, but today is the traditional date, 12 days after Christmas. The name of this feast comes from the Greek, Ἐπιφάνεια – Epiphania, also also referred to by some as theophany. Ultimately all these words mean revelation, vision, manifestaion or vision of God.

God is everywhere of course, waiting to be discovered, seen, noticed, and embraced. We tend to avoid eye contact, averting our glance as we cloak our hearts, as if to put a medical mask upon them. After all, we might “catch” something. *sigh*

Today, may we all pay attention and look around. May God be made manifest in all of the most unlikely places,  unimaginable forms, and unexpected people today and always. Consider where will you discover Christ this day.

Blessings of the Feast of the Epiphany! Here is a short (5ish minutes) video clip from the 2006 movie The Nativity Story. I really loved the representation of the Magi in this film.

An epiphany of listening

This sitka spruce on Rialto Beach s not a star, but it could lead you to Christ. It's part of Gordon Hempton's story.

This sitka spruce on Rialto Beach s not a star, but it could lead you to Christ. It’s part of Gordon Hempton’s story.

“I grew up thinking that I was a listener, except on my way to graduate school one time, I simply pulled over making the long drive from Seattle, Washington, to Madison, Wisconsin, pulled over in a field to get some rest and a thunderstorm rolled over me. While I lay there and the thunder echoed through the valley and I could hear the crickets, I just simply took it all in. And it’s then I realized that I had a whole wrong impression of what it meant to actually listen. I thought that listening meant focusing my attention on what was important even before I had heard it and screening out everything that was unimportant even before I had heard it.” Gordon Hempton, as heard on the On Being – The Last Quiet Places podcast

Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist. What on earth is that? He is trying to conserve a natural resource that is rapidly diminishing without notice. He conserves quiet. Quiet places don’t mean silent, they mean quiet. There is probably no place on earth that is completely quiet, no matter how it may seem to us.

Recently my family and I were in a restaurant. It was Continue reading

Epiphany

e·piph·a·ny

əˈpifənē/
noun
noun: Epiphany; noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies
  1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
    • the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.

This Sunday the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord. Guided by a star, the magi – or three kings, made their way to the “newborn king.” Here at the blog, I will wait until Tuesday night to post my reflection.

There is a method to my madness; I will be offering said reflection at Evening Prayer at St. Edward the Confessor in Clifton Park on Tuesday night, at 7PM. All are welcome! If you are a reader and I do not know you, please make sure you catch me and say hello – I would love to meet you!

Ephiphany – A Final Christmas Reflection

(I wrote this for the parish blog last night and it is not as well developed as I might like, but I put it out there and put it out here too. Happy and Blessed Epiphany! I wish you faith, hope and light!)

What a difference! The three kings had only a rumor to go by. But it moved them to make that long journey. The scribes were much better informed, much better versed. They sat and studied the Scriptures like so many dons, but it did not make them move. Who had the more truth? The three kings who followed a rumor, or the scribes who remained sitting with all their knowledge? –Soren Kierkegaard

Thursday January 6 marks the actual date of Epiphany, even though we celebrated it on Sunday. We have such vivid images of the 3 Kings or the magi, yet we don’t really know too much about them.

I am struck by two things on this Epiphany… One is that the real sin in life is despair. The acts of sin and manifestations of them – adultery, killing, stealing, all appear to come out of some kind of despair. I-don’t-have-this-and-I-want-this kind of despair. It means a lack of hope and our faith is about hope if nothing else.

That element of hope is the second thing that strikes me… Out of hope grows faith. Imagine the hope of the magi, their faith. They acted on a hunch and look what happened. I would say that they defied conventional wisdom with their bold act.

It all seems a gamble. Don’t despair. Have hope. Follow the hunch. Nurture your faith, live your faith.

The 3 magi come in at about 2:30 of this video, a little corny but thought provoking nonetheless.