Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dancing in a Fountain of Light- Reflection on the Mystery of Epiphany

Had a lovely day, celebrating a House Eucharist with my community and then sneaking out to St. John's Parish, the Jesuit's church on Creighton University for an evening Mass. Driving home into the sunset, and reflecting on the day's words and beauty I felt moved to share the following.)

Epiphany- Ἐπιφάνια or epiphania in Greek means "manifestation" or "appearance," and is a very holy day to Christians around the world. I've been realizing more and more a love for the ancient language of Mystery[1]
of the Church to fit my vision of the Christian faith, and felt inspired to write a few words about that Mystery, in its most Cosmic sense, as I experienced it today.

in the traditions of the Church East and West,

and my own deepest faith,
dances between two extremes...
It is not a secret ritual to be hidden from the world,
as some Greeks and Romans lived their prior traditions...
But nor is it a loud clanging gong,[2]
to bash others over the head with to change them,
as if that ever helped anyone!

But rather it is Divine center to which can be returned again and again,
Hidden because it contains more than can ever be described,
but seen because it shines out as a Light that changes all it touches,
Healing and changing the World and human hearts with the Glory of God Sometimes through, but also in spite of us Christians!

The many Mysteries of the Church's year can be what the Celts called thin spaces, peeling back to show what Christians believe is the Deepest Reality.

Epiphany, one of these mysteries goes back to the early days of the Eastern Church, especially Egypt. It echoed earlier traditions, of a god or goddess appearing to a person in wonder... or of a king who claimed Divinity coming into the city and expecting people to look impressed!

But for the Church, Jesus comes to us in a wondrous way, as a new kind of Divine King, one that changes everything by starting upside down, where He is least expected.

That the Creator of all things looked down into a Creation,
Beautiful but also Hurting,
and sent Godself into the very deepest part of it,
becoming utterly vulnerable,
and forever united to it in a special way,
So filling it with God's own Light,
a Light that bursts forth in all Creation,
making all things new,
and who Christians worship in the Face of Jesus.

Seen with joy under a star by holy men of another faith,
throwing a good party because his mother told him so,
and having the Heaven-sent Spirit dance over him like a Dove.[2]

But that Light is there not just to be worshiped,
or just there for Christians,
or even there for humans only,
It goes down deep, and spills out into all Creation,
Like a glorious Fountain, expecting us to do the same.
Striving to see, as God does,
the utter Beauty,
and deep Pain,
Of every living being...
And loving them in that Light,
till that day when All Shall be Light.

I caught a glimpse of it today...

Laughing with friends around a table...

...The sunlight dancing down to surprise us, forgetting it isn't yet spring as we step outdoors...

...Praying, later under a tall stone church for a hurting world

The bubbling of Many Waters...

...And coming out to a a line of trees, Those Who Stand Praying,[5] forgetting for a moment their winter slumber and asking me to bless them, like a crowd of children running for hugs outside a church...

I am truly grateful,
and pray I shall not soon forget it,
when the road leads through dark places.

Eternal Amen

Notes, dastardly geek that I am. :P

[1]A special thanks goes to an article by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M in the December '10 "Catholic Update" of St. Anthony Messenger Press, whose words on the holy days of the year, of "facts" and "deep truths" helped inspire some of this.

[2] The three parts of Epiphany in the Eastern church, Anglicans echo it today as well.

[3] What Paul tells us NOT to be in 1 Cor 13:1, but warns we will be without Divine Love in all we do.

[4] The Greek Orthodox church, in all its Creation-centered awesomeness teaches that on the day of Epiphany, every drop of water in the world is holy.

[5] The beautiful Mandan peoples' name for trees as they dance in the wind gloriously, calling us to pray among them.

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