This year I plan to add several new works to the gallery. 2014 us a nice number. Keep checking in for a bunch of collectibles and some fine art, photography and books. While the photos are being readied, enjoy this lovely lesson (about the true meaning of the word “epiphany”) and a carol.
Happy New Year!
From the blog of Father Gregory Wilcox,
“…Epiphany, as I’m sure everybody who reads this knows, is a Greek word meaning something like “revelation” or “manifestation.” In Bible times, it carried a further connotation-an epiphany was the manifestation of a god. Nowadays, we say, “That climb up the stairs was an epiphany: I’ve got to lose some weight.” But in ancient times the word was used with some hesitation. If I announced “I’ve had an epiphany,” people would have assumed a god had spoken to me at the temple or “that’s just Greg being Greg again, calling attention to himself.”
The Church continues to use the word in a Bible sense. The Feast of the Epiphany, then, is the feast of God’s “showing Himself.” In the Bible He doesn’t do this casually, but with a purpose. When He does, the response of people in the Bible is always the same: they fall on their faces in worship, struck to the core of themselves at What they’ve been shown. The first reaction to an encounter with God, if the Bible is to be trusted, is something like amazed stupor. It’s not a considered response, but leaps from the gut. We drop to our knees and tremble. It’s how worship begins.
Throughout the Epiphany season, the Church presents us with a variety of God’s “showings” of Himself in Christ. But she starts us with the Day of the Kings-Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, as they’re customarily named-who bring prescient gifts to the new-born Child-God showing Himself as a helpless baby. St Matthew tells us “when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshiped Him.” The Church starts the celebration of God’s epiphanies with her gut response to them: to fall down and worship.
We do well to learn from her. Worship is not about us. Our popular notion of worship has more to do with entertainment than awe. The Bible epiphany is more likely to find its counterpart today in an encounter with a television personality. That’s not a revelation about God, but it is about us. The Prayer Book sets things in their proper place. At Morning Prayer today, before we recite the Venite, the antiphon reminds us: “The Lord hath manifested forth His glory. O come, let us adore Him….”
Among today’s saints (there are more than thirty saints on the Church calendar for January 6) are Bishop Romanus of Lacedaemon (which we know as the ancient city of Sparta). St Romanus was beheaded by the Turks in 1695 for refusing to renounce his faith and embrace Islam. Also today, St Peter of Canterbury, sent to assist St Augustine in the conversion of England. In later years he served as abbot of the first Benedictine monastery in the country. Not least of today’s saints is St Gertrude of Delft, a servant girl who lived in 14th century Holland. She did her daily work cheerfully, often with a song on her lips, and spent her free time caring for poor children and teaching them the importance of prayer. After her death, she was discovered to have borne the stigmata of Christ, which she successfully hid from all her friends and companions while she was alive.”
I wish I lived in Texas near this lovely man’s church of St. Joseph’s. If you would like to follow Father Wilcox’s blog, email me….email@example.com