I can remember my primal experience of God’s unconditional love. I can remember the time and the place, the light and the sound of silence. If I close my eyes I can not only see the scene, I can re-experience myself as a beloved child of God. I hope you can too; and I wish that everyone could, although I know that some have not had this experience, and others may have forgotten.
The story of the Magi occupies the center of attention on Epiphany Sunday. This is a story of three outsiders recognizing the presence of divinity in Jesus. However the story of Jesus’s baptism is central to my understanding of Epiphany. This is the moment of Jesus’ primal experience of God’s unconditional love and his essential nature as a child of God. We are tempted to hear the story as being unique to Jesus. This is a mistake. The voice does not say, “This is my beloved son, but the rest of you low life stinkers, I disown you!” Epiphany is a birth right for each and every one of us. The capacity to recognize the presence of divinity within us and within all of creation makes human beings unique, makes us human.
The experience of Epiphany has been foundational and transformative in my life. You are the beloved. You are not just made by God, but you are made from God, a child and heir. This is incredibly good news. I spend some time every day during Epiphany remembering this.
St. James, Essex Junction