In the name of the God of light, life, and clarity. Amen.
Several years ago, on the television series Grey’s Anatomy, there was a character who described falling in love as being like when she put on glasses for the first time. She remembered, as a child, riding in the car on the way home from the eye doctor, and seeing the leaves on the trees. She’d never seen the leaves! She had only known trees as big green blobs. But suddenly, she could see clearly. Suddenly, she could see what had been there all along, but that she had been missing.
Our tradition often speaks of the Feast of the Epiphany in terms of light and dark. The prophet Isaiah says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;…”
But it’s not about the light and it’s not about the dark. It’s about the vision. It’s about seeing what was always there, but that had been missed.
“…the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. … Lift up your eyes and look around… Then you shall see and be radiant.”
In our common language we talk about epiphanies. It’s what happens when we’re struck by a sudden realization. “While considering a problem, I had an epiphany…” The makings of the idea were already there, but suddenly, mysteriously, everything came together.
Through the past several weeks, as a church, we’ve been cultivating hope. We’ve been sorting through the wisdom of the ages, remembering the stories of our faith, all in preparation for finding Christ in our lives in a new way. Then, suddenly, Christmas morning came. Dreams were fulfilled and missed. Wishes were granted or forgotten. And through it all, most of the world has moved on. But Epiphany is about saying that even though Christmas ended yesterday, the gift of Christ continues. The magi – the “kings” or “wise men” – they have only just found Christ. And while a lot of the world has already moved on from Christmas, there are still people who have yet to find Christ. The epiphanies of seeing the world for the first time through the clarity of the lens of God’s love is still available to almost everyone we meet.
And it’s still available to us. Christian faith is a journey that never ends. The Gospel tells us that these astrologers who followed a star to find Christ knew that they had to go home by a different way. The same is true for us. Whenever we really encounter Christ, we leave the moment changed. We can’t go on the way we’ve been going on. We invariably see the world in a new way.
But for those of us who have been down these roads a few times, we have the gift and the responsibility of shepherding others on their own journeys.
Today, in this church, we will welcome a new member of the Body of Christ into our family. In baptizing Bryan, we’re committing to showing him Christ. And the really amazing thing is, in doing so, we, too, will see Christ in new ways. Bryan and his family will be changed, and all of us who commit to helping him see Christ in his life will be changed, as well. The more we get to know one another, the more we watch him grow and support him and share the joy of this love we know with him and his family, the more we’ll all be changed. The more we’ll all grow. The more we’ll all see the world a bit more clearly than we ever had before.
Christ is alive. We know it because we see Christ in one another. We know it, because we leave this place changed. We go home by another road. In building this family, we see things more clearly than we ever had before.
Thanks be to God. Amen.