Friday, January 15, 2010

After Epiphany

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1.
We have entered the Church Season of “After Epiphany.”

After…Epiphany…It is hard not to ask, is there such a thing?

The Light manifests itself in Flesh. That we want to experience and celebrate. We gather around the manger to bask in the Light of the newborn babe. We light our candles; we give gifts; we feast and sing.

But After

We go back to our daily lives and all appears the same. Brokenness, pain, cruelty, and devastation…not just for the ones who have chosen the darkness, but for us and for our brothers and sisters in Christ, close by and in the far off places that we often think little of until there is unimaginable death and destruction.

Yes, “the Word became flesh and we have seen his glory.” But like the Magi, do we just return home, forced to journey through the same desert again, even if by a different route?

And so we ask, how do we live in the After?

The prophet Isaiah promises that when the light has come and the glory of the Lord has dawned … “The sun will no more be your light by day; by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.”

Have we experienced the Light and then just gone back to the sun rather than the Son to guide us? And what would this Son say? How would he tell us to live?

That is the beauty of the Church Year. It does not leave us with a few moments of Epiphany but continues to lead us by the Son. We see the manifestation and the epiphany does not stop.

There is baptism, a dove appears and a voice from the heavens . (The First Week After Epiphany)

There are miracles. Water turned to wine. Divinity revealed again. (The Second Week After Epiphany)

There are proclamations. “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me.” “He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (The Third Week after Epiphany)

And people begin to choose. (The Fourth Week after Epiphany)

People begin to follow. Laying down their work, setting it all aside to walk with the Light. (The Fifth Week After Epiphany)

And then, the dazzling light, the glory revealed. Transfiguration. (The Last Week After Epiphany)

No, we do not stop at Epiphany. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany are not enough. We continue to light our candles and sing and pray though perhaps more quietly and, hopefully, more fervently.

We continue on into the After.

It is a journey that we know will, indeed, lead us into the desert and into suffering and death. But it will be a journey in the light of the Epiphany. A journey that leads us to Resurrection.

Any more thoughts on how you experience this time After Epiphany? How do you return to daily life after seeing the Great Light?

Thank you, readers, for the blessing you are to me. Your comments and emails have been so kind.
“In Him was the life and the life was the Light of men.” May you hold on to the Life and Light today.

Images public domain. Found at Christmas Paintings and Artwork -- Annunciation, Shepherds, Madonna and Child, St. Joseph


Jessica said...

Believe it or not, by looking forward to Lent. Christmas this year was so good - but so indulgent - that I am looking forward to a season of imposed discipline.

I probably shouldn't be, because, as we know "discipline is never pleasant at the time", but to be honest, aesceticism sounds a little appealing right now.

(I think I'm a little tired.)

btw, that picture of Mary and Joseph and Jesus headed into Egypt with the wise men departing behind them is stunning.

Amy said...

That's actually how my post started. I had sat down to figure out how long must I wait until lent?! And then wondered why do we have this in between time?
I've started to find that observing a pre-lent has increased my devotion during lent so I guess it will be beginning soon enough!
Do you think you will fast this year for lent? It seems I've been pregnant or breastfeeding for the last 5 years so have done different things but would really like to understand and practice this discipline more.


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