Thursday, January 04, 2018

Can we ever see ourselves the same way again? (First thoughts towards Epiphany Sunday, Jan 7)

Reading:  Matthew 2:1-12 

(In the midst of King Herod's dark reign over Israel, magi from the East show up looking for the long-promised, apparently now-born king.  "We saw his star at its rising," they say.  Herod is terrified at the prospect of his dark reign coming to an end.  He sends his scholars to dust off the old promises and prophecies, so he can tell the magi where to find the baby king, and then tells them to be sure to hurry back and let him know too where the little darling is ... so he can ... adore him (of course, what else?) and pay him homage, too.  And the rest of the story we know: the magi follow the star to the ordinary, humble home where Joseph and Mary are living now in Bethlehem, they pay homage and give the baby gifts worthy of a king, a priest and a martyr, and then God encourages them to leave Herod in the dark and go home a different way.)

It's called the Feast -- and now the Season of Epiphany.  

It's about seeing.  About having our eyes opened.

About seeing the glory and good purpose of God revealed in the world.  In a place you might least expect it.  Not in the palace or royal court.  Not in the Temple, even.  But in a new way and new place.  In a humble home, in a baby born to two otherwise-unremarkable persons.  God-with-us in the dust of daily life.

Which makes me wonder.

What if the epiphany is not just -- maybe not even so much, about God as it is about us?  About humanity in general?  About us -- each of us and all of us, in particular?

What if God's purpose, the purpose of this birth and the story of it, the purpose of all history itself is that we should come to see not God, but ourselves in a new way?  As the bearers ourselves of divinity?  As the home and household ourselves of glory and divinity in the world?  

To know, and now not be able to un-know that we are holy?  That divinity is in our DNA?  That there is a glory born within us, that the dust of our daily life only makes all the more evident?

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