“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Feast of the Epiphany


Setting moon/rising sun Escalante, Utah taken by Terri C. Pilarski, May 2010


I grew up in a non-liturgical church.
I never heard of the seasons of the church year as a child.
I never practiced intentional waiting in Advent, nor observed Lent nor wore red on Pentecost.
The church I grew up in celebrated Christmas and Easter.

My first memory of celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany
was with a church I served as an intern while in seminary.
Which means that even my "home" parish didn't make much of Epiphany.
 At that home church the kids offered a play on a Sunday after Christmas,
which we called an "Epiphany Play." And, we probably had some kind of special coffee hour.
I also knew that Epiphany celebrated the arrival of the wise ones, bearing gifts, for the Christ child.
I knew what I had learned in my seminary liturgics class.

But I didn't really understand the Feast of the Epiphany
 until that night at my internship parish.
Epiphany fell on a Thursday night that year too.
We gathered first in the parish hall for a spaghetti supper followed by the service in the church.
It was a fun, social, relaxed celebration.

Since that internship
I have celebrated twelve Feasts of the Epiphany.
 Like my home parish many of those celebrations have included a children's Epiphany play.
In one parish we wrote our own play, a version that our kids would enjoy doing
and the congregation would enjoy participating in.
A version that had a narrator, a few lines for some of the kids,
shepherd, Mary and Joseph, a baby, three wise ones (never men, sometimes girls and boys),
and lots of singing - verses from a number of Christmas and Epiphany hymns.

I have also had moments in ministry that were
Epiphanic.
Moments of revelation, of God's presence, of the Holy Spirit breaking through,
of knowing -
simply knowing
what I was to do, some sense (perhaps) of what God was hoping for.

My hope this Epiphany
 is for a new
 spirit
to come into the world.
A spirit that transforms the last few years
of fear, anger, and hostility
 into a calmer energy.
A spirit
that is willing to wait,
with expectation.
A spirit that gives the benefit of the doubt
and
assumes good intentions.

I hope "we"
(and by we I mean people in this country, in particular, and others as relevant)
listen intentionally,
carefully,
without judgment.
Could we stop polarizing
left and right,
 conservative and liberal,
and so forth?

Perhaps we could learn from one another?
 Could we just try to be kind to one another?
Wouldn't that be Epiphanic?

That is my hope for 2011
and this
Feast of the Epiphany.
Wordle: WordsMatter