THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI, copy woven in 1894. Designed by Edward Burne Jones, details by William Morris and John Henry Dearle. Tapestry, wool and silk on cotton warp. Manchester Metropolitan University
By Rev. Kimberly Myer
In February we are continuing in the season of Epiphany and then we will move into the season of Lent.
In the early church, Epiphany was one of the great feast days–second only to Easter in its importance. Easter used to be celebrated with an all-night vigil the night before and then the celebration continued on for what was called the “Great 50 Days” ending with a great celebration on Pentecost to mark the birth of the Christian church.
Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost were the focus of the church as great celebrations. After Epiphany and before Easter, the time of Lent was for repentance but also a time of preparation for new believers of the church to learn what it meant to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
So why are Epiphany, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost not celebrated as it was case in the past anymore?
There may be several answers, but I think one of them is that, for the most part, we no longer live in the mystery. We want proof, answers. The early church was a church full of excitement and expectation. They anticipated the return of Jesus at any time, and the persecutions which they endured forced them to be aware of their faith.
Many of us today have lost that sense of excitement and expectation. In the early church, the point of Epiphany was not to remember history, but to be reminded that God appears miraculously to us in places and in ways that we don’t expect. If we keep remembering that God seems to thrive on the unexpected appearances and if we keep expecting to see God everywhere we turn, we are not too likely to miss it when it happens.
How many times do we prepare for our day by asking God to be revealed in our co-workers, while we are standing in line at the grocery store, in our housework, in our children or friends, in the customers we deal with?
How many times do we prepare for church by asking God to speak to us in the music, in the sermon, through others in the congregation? How many of us honestly, truly expect a real, life-changing encounter with God when we enter the doors of our church? I believe that those few who do expect such things, like me, find them.
As we enter into Lent this year, instead of giving something up I would like to ask you to take something on, to help you to find the excitement and live in expectation of meeting God in your day.
Gracious and loving God, please reveal yourself in ways that open us to what you are calling us to do as your children. Help us to open our eyes and hearts and to feel the excitement of your presence. Show us what you are doing so we can follow and further the kingdom of heaven here on earth. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rev. Kimberly Myer is the rector of St. John the Evangelist Church, Leamington and AFP Diocesan Representative of Huron.