Feast of the Epiphany – January 6, 2020 – Matthew 2:1-12 – St. Mary’s, Sewanee
This is a revised excerpt from something that I’ve done before. Nevertheless, I had fun, and I hope you do, too.
You’ve no doubt heard it before, so I apologize, but Christians do often characterize Epiphany as an “Aha!” moment.
I think we do this because we tend to focus on the magis’ discovery of Jesus instead of their search for him. Their discovery is—quite literally—an epiphany, a sudden revelation. Beholding the incarnate God in a manager, these wise folks behold love, salvation, grace, and peace. Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The answer. Right there in front of them.
As true as that may be—as a mentor of mine likes to say, “You know, I actually believe this stuff!”—it’s just not always the way it works.
I’m guessing that most of you have come again to this feast without a sudden realization of some great truth. I’m guessing that you didn’t wake up this morning with a game-changing Christian insight. If you’re like me, you can go for months at a time without feeling spiritually satisfied.
When it comes to faith, answers don’t always fall into our laps. Big truths are rarely all-of-the-sudden made clear. Don’t fret. God can do much more with a curious mind than with a satisfied one.
Epiphany is more than a sudden revelation, an “Aha!” moment that reveals all of the answers necessary for a vibrant life of faith. Epiphany is also about a constant search for God. That’s a good thing. We are, after all, much more familiar with searching than we are with discovering, right?
Let Epiphany be your renewed opportunity to embolden your curiosity and steadfastly search for God’s truth by asking questions, studying scripture, taking your joys and concerns to God in prayer, and seeking and serving Christ in all persons.
To put it differently, Epiphany is not just about what we find in the manger; it’s also about looking up at a star and asking, “Where do I go from here?”
Like many captivating stories, today’s gospel has a good cliff-hanger. Having lived into their curiosity, the magi searched for and discovered Jesus, but that can’t be the end of their story. No one would travel all that way only to say, “Been there, done that.” Meeting Jesus is more than a trip to Hoover Dam. This is God-made-man! Something had to be stirred up inside of them.
Meeting Jesus is only the beginning of our journey with God. The question is, what happens next?
I know a woman, perhaps you know her, too. She wandered into worship one Sunday morning just because she’d driven by the place so many times and read the pithy little sayings on the sign out front. She met some people, sang some songs, passed the peace, and listened to the sermon.
She was so moved by what she experienced that during coffee hour she signed up to come back and distribute food to the homeless that week. And she was so touched by that experience that she joined the regular volunteer rotation. Before long she was singing in the choir and driving the church van. Within the year she even invited a few friends to come along with her.
It’s amazing what happens when you meet Jesus. It transforms your life. It gives you a new perspective. It changes your priorities.
Today you have come once again to meet Jesus; in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the Word, in the prayers. I wonder how it will change you. I wonder how your journey with God will begin anew.
Really. I’m curious. I hope you are, too.