Yesterday was Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. Traditionally celebrated as the day of the wise men brought gifts of homage to the baby Jesus. Besides celebrating this day with Eucharist at St. Peters in Charlotte and two wild card football games, not to mention the beginning of the third season of “Downton Abbey,” I read an article by Kay McSpadden published in the Charlotte Observer and listened to Luis’s sermon by going to www.stjohns-dc.org.
I commend to you all that you take a few minutes to listen to Luis via podcast and/or go online to read Kay’s article. They both intertwine Epiphany with a journey of faith. A journey we are all traveling whether we know it are not. Today marks the end of the first week in the New Year and the realities of our resolutions. We use the first week to take stock of things left undone in the old year and things that need doing in the new year. So it is only fitting to be cognizant of the difficulties ahead. A journey of faith is not one that is easy, without setbacks, difficulties, or failures.
The word epiphany has come to mean some sort of revelation usually through some sudden insight. Epiphany is a literary device as well. An important truth is revealed in a sudden climax to a novel. Or more typically, as Kay McSpadden points out, when a character realizes something that was previously hidden or recognized. Kay reminds us of Elizabeth Bennett misjudging Mr. Darcy, Inspector Javert realizing he misjudged Jean Valjean, or Saul’s vision on the road to Damascus.
In our journeys our awakenings are usually more gradual and lessons are learned more slowly. In our Januarys, resolutions become more difficult than imagined and failures are followed by more comfortable habits long before February. Kay reminds us that our journeys of faith are more like the story of John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace.” Again and again our journeys are riddled with failures, lapses, promises to amend, and slides back down a slippery slope. It is “there but by the grace of God” we are each rescued.
As we begin our second week we are all comforted by the knowledge that no matter how often we fail, how often we fall, each day offers a new opportunity to continue down the road on our journey of faith.