This past Sunday, churches around the world celebrated Epiphany, the Sunday where Jesus’ being known to the larger world is celebrated. The traditional story for Epiphany is the story of the magi, or the wise men, coming to greet Jesus and bringing him gifts. You can read it here, in Matthew chapter 2.
The story has the makings of an adventure story. The magi follow a star to find Jesus and thwart the plan of an evil king through their clever response to a dream that warns them to travel by a different route.
While each character – the wise men, King Herod, the Holy family, the powers of the state centered in Jerusalem – all play an important role it doesn’t seem as if any one of them grasp the larger narrative or their role in it.
God is working something new in the world and the fullness of it has not yet emerged. But the characters in the story sense that something is going on. Each responds in their own way – Herod responds with fear and a plot to harm Jesus, the magi respond by following the star where it leads them, and, as the plot unfolds, the holy family responds by fleeing to Egypt, out of danger.
Epiphany is about perceiving, awakening to, the work that God is doing in the world. It is about noticing, and responding, to the leadings of the Divine. When we read the story of the magi, this isn’t an ancient tale about long ago characters. It is an invitation for us to notice the Divine leadings in our own lives.
We may not, will not, grasp the fullness of God’s plans. We won’t know the whole narrative. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot perceive the movements of the Spirit within our own lives, inviting us into the story.
Close your eyes for a moment and dare to dream. What story is God writing in your life? What invitation is upon you? Will you awaken to it?