“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Epiphany, the revelation, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles-us, you and me. Christ is indeed manifested to me almost sensuously at Epiphany. It first happened in the mid fifties when I attended my first Episcopal service which was the Epiphany Feast of Lights around the age of eleven in a small Virginia church with a boyfriend and his family. I still remember the unfamiliar liturgy, the candlelight, and the haunting mystic melodies. As we walked out of the small-town church on that bitter, cold January night, carrying our candles, we were surprised by the winter's first snow. I knew that night that God spoke most clearly to me through this tradition. A decade later I again encountered the beauty of the Feast of Lights at St. Mary's Cathedral in Memphis with their choral procession of the costumed wise men bearing their great gifts.
Here in Little Rock at St. Mark’s we again will experience that haunting call of Epiphany at their Saturday evening service at 5:30 tonight on January 6th. The choir and candlelight recessional out of the church into the dark night to me is always breathtaking. I watch the beautiful, often familiar faces of those walking out ahead of me. Their expressions seem to ask, "What will we encounter next in the night? Will this light be enough for me to see?" This service empowers all of us to think about carrying our small candle out into the world.
As the candlelight service concludes, we also realize that we can only see our path because of the light from so many others before, beside, and behind us.
May this new year be full of epiphanies for you and those you love.