Growing up, whenever I would hear the word “Epiphany," my mind would always go to someone saying “eureka” and then a lightbulb going on over their head. When ever we have a profound realization, we might say we “had an Epiphany.” Something just suddenly clicks in to place. Something becomes obvious that never was before.
This Sunday at St. George's, we'll be celebrating the feast of the Epiphany, the feast that commemorates when everything just seemed to click like it never clicked before. It is one of the older feasts in the Christian calendar, being celebrated first in the 4th century. Epiphany means “manifestation” or “striking appearance,” It celebrates the (the revealing, the unveiling) of Jesus’ divine identity to the gentiles--the people who do not yet know the story of the God of Israel. It’s usually celebrated with the visit of the Magi, as told in Matthew's gospel, who come bearing gifts from the East fit for a king. In some Christian traditions, including ours, Epiphany is a whole season, stretching from the end of Christmas to the beginning of Lent.
This holy day marks a point where the scope of the story of the Bible widens considerably. For much of the story up until this point the focus has primarily been on God's relationship one particular community: God's people, Israel. By all accounts, however, these Magi (the root of the English word "magician") are non-Jews (often referred to as "pagans"), coming from Iraq or Persia. They are outsiders to the story. Yet, they have been observing the stars, and are somehow drawn to this location by the divine light. The story's focus at this point broadens from God's relationship with Israel to the new relationship possible with all people through the life of this child who is met in Bethlehem. This is when the lightbulb, so the story goes, really lights up.
So, join us this Sunday as we mark the occasion where a big story becomes even bigger. We'll also be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion, where we also discover at Jesus' table God's welcome and life for us is more than we ever imagined. Join us as we seek, and as we follow the star together.