"'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
What's in an epiphany? Not simple recognition--it has to be more.
More change. More Surprise. More negotiation.
Epiphany is a time of recognition, but I wonder this year if there couldn't be something more to it than a simple "Yes, Jesus, I know of your Illumination, Manifestation, and Declaration to all the people of the world."
The Magi came expecting a King, but they found something unexpected--that the King lay in a manger, and was in danger from his own people.
John knew that Jesus didn't need his baptism, but he discovered a new kind of baptism--more than a public declaration of repentance, this baptism was an anointing of power. Not humanity coming to God, but God coming to humanity and offering the possibility of new relationship.
The guests at the wedding feast are the most unlikely examples of the Epiphany--there is a miracle going on behind the scenes. The King is still wearing the carpenter's clothing. But a few of them, those who knew him, were made aware of a change; something new was happening in their world. Something very exciting. Something that was about to change their lives.
This year, I don't want to simply recognize the appearance of God to humanity; this year, I want to see what is hiding, just below the surface. I want to feel a fresh wind, and I want to hear the distant thunder. "There is change coming." That's something I take for granted--every moment brings a subtle change, and nothing is ever static. What this new season brings is more than a consequence of what has come before. There is no causality or reciprocity or circularity to the freshness of Epiphany. The change isn't just an event to be watched, but a new way of seeing and living and breathing and hoping and trusting.
God showed himself to man by becoming man. And nothing was ever the same.