An Epiphany Reflection: Christ in me–Christ in you
Readings: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 ◊ Isaiah 60:1-6 ◊ Ephesians 3:1-12 ◊ Matthew 2:1-12
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
Today the Church recognizes the Epiphany of Jesus; “Christ, brought to light.” Epiphany is the season of enlightenment, which we focus our attention on Jesus and the unfolding manifestation of his glory. There are four core events at the heart of Epiphany relative to the observance of the Church; these events are the birth of Christ (although this event has been removed since the fourth century), the visit of the Magi from the East, Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River, and Jesus turning the water into wine at the Cana wedding. The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek verb phainein, which means to “cause to appear” or “to bring to light.”
I am thinking about what this season means to me. As we process the season of Advent and we “wait expectantly for the Light,” now the Light has appeared. Christ has come. In what ways do I see Him and what difference does this make in my life. The challenge I have extended to myself during this season is to make every opportunity a manifestation of the Light. I want to be able to “see” Jesus in every human encounter—to see Christ in others, no matter who they are—we are; after all, created as imago dei, the image of God. I want to be a conduit for Christ as well; this means I am a manifestation of Light too. As a Christ follower, people should be able to witness Christ in me. This will be my practice and goal for the next five weeks.
The Rule of Benedict reminds us that we should make every effort to receive guests (others) as Christ, because He will say: “I was a stranger and you took Me in” (Mt 25:35). And let due honor be shown to all, especially to those “of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:10) and to wayfarers. These will serve as strong reminders and encouragement to me during these days of Epiphany along with the very words of Jesus, also from Matthew’s gospel; “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Finding Christ in the other and exhibiting Christ to the other are moments of Epiphany.
If you love God, you will do everything possible to serve and please him. Love is impatient to do good. It is also quick and active and observant. Faith will encourage you. Hope will set you spinning like the spring in a watch. Reverence for God will rouse you out of your sleepiness. Enthusiasm for spiritual things will set you on fire. The more aware you are of God, the more involved you will be in working for him. Those who trifle lose their labor. -Richard Baxter
I think…Epiphany finds us most profoundly when we practice one thing, to love God will all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength.
Almighty and ever-living God, we confidently call you Father as well as Lord. Renew your Spirit in us to make us more perfectly your Light, shining and illuminating the darkness around us. May you be ever present and complete in us, so we might be the Light of your holy city on a hill.
If indeed I am to radiate your light to the world, Lord Christ, then let that light burn within me to purge and purify until I know only you and seek only you and, finding you in everyone I meet, enable them to find you even in me.
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who reigns and lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.