By Amanda Berger
The word “epiphany” comes from a Greek word meaning, “showing forth, manifestation, or revelation.” Specifically, it is connected to the magi making their way to Jesus’ nativity and Christ being made known to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people), whom the magi represent.
In our own Lutheran tradition, we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany 12 days after Christmas and mark it on the nearest Sunday, reading of the arrival of the magi at Christ’s nativity. Additionally, Epiphany is celebrated as a season of light and revelation, extending for many weeks, depending on the date of Easter. The gospel readings of the lectionary throughout this season—our “reading plan” for worship—offer us many different accounts of Jesus coming into his power as a preacher, teacher, healer, and miracle-worker, as he is revealed to his followers, and to us, as the Son of God.
Use the following script as a guided meditation or journaling exercise, inviting you to consider how Christ has been revealed in your own life. If you choose to do this as a journaling exercise, be sure to have a pen and paper handy.
To begin, find a quiet, calm place where you can sit comfortably and won’t be disturbed. Consider closing your eyes as you begin and notice the slow inhale and exhale of your breath. Follow the rhythm of your natural breath for several cycles as you grow stiller and quieter.
Then, either out loud or to yourself, say the following prayer (or make up your own) before moving into the meditation section. After the meditation, simply sit and reflect on the words you read. After a few minutes move on to the reflection questions, either journaling your answers or simply reflecting on them in your heart. Close with the final prayer.
“Jesus, you are the light of the world. In your holiness and your earthliness, you display the truth about who God is and God’s desire to be present with us. Open our eyes, ears and hearts to the ways in which you continue to reveal yourself to us today—through word and sacrament, through creation, and through holy encounters with other believers. By your light, may we truly see. Amen.
Over and over in the gospels, the majesty and truth of God with us, Immanuel, is made known, mostly in small moments with everyday kinds of people.
Jesus is presented at the temple, and Simeon and Anna proclaim his divinity.
As a child, Jesus reads the Torah and explains it to those listening with certain, otherworldly knowing.
John baptizes Jesus, knowing exactly who Jesus really is.
Jesus transforms water into wine at a wedding in Cana.
He gathers a handful of unlikely disciples and calls them to follow him.
He feeds multitudes.
Then, in front of just three of his closest friends, Jesus meets on a mountaintop with Moses and Elijah and is transfigured right before their eyes.
There are so many more moments that could be named and counted, each revealing just a little more of Jesus’ holy sense of justice and his compassionate ability to meet people right where they are. No huge production, just humble, real, earthly encounters that provide hope to all.
Questions for Reflection
- When you consider the scripture stories that reveal Jesus’ true nature, which one speaks to you the most? What is it about that story that connects to your experience of Christ?
- How or who has made Christ most real to you in your life? Consider the details of that encounter. What was revealed to you by the person or experience?
- Because we believe in a living God, the revelation of Jesus is not over and done in this world but continues to be on-going. Where do you need Jesus to show up? And what do you need from him in that space? Consider writing a prayer, asking to be open to new revelations God and how God is at work in our world.
Gracious Lord, dismiss me, your servant, in peace. My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have given for all people. Immanuel, God with us, you are a light and a revelation. Allow me to see through your eyes with love, mercy and justice for all people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For a video version of this guided meditation, click here.