If we were within the reach of any of the Orthodox Church expressions – then Epiphany would be Christmas. In the Orthodox Church, Christmas is on 6th January. We have many Orthodox Christians in Stuttgart of course and their journey through Advent-Christmas-Epiphany has a different dynamic to that of the ‘Western Church’ be it Roman Catholic or Protestant.
For us the 6th January (or the Sunday nearest to it) is the Feast of the Epiphany, and it marks the beginning of the Epiphany Season which takes us to 2nd February, the Feast of Candlemas (which is when and why the crib comes down then in churches and at home).
For us, although the Epiphany Season offers a rich variety of themes – the arrival of the Magi, the baptism of Christ, the Week of Christian Unity is put here too, as is the Conversion of Paul (him who wrote much of the New Testament) and the what we now think of as the liturgical pieces of Simeon and Anna. What all these invite us to reflect on is the overarching theme of the many, indeed infinite, ways in which God reveals himself to us.
For us, the Epiphany Season can often feel ‘flat’ after the not always helpful hype of Advent and Christmas going on all around us. In the northern hemisphere this is emphasised by the long grey evenings that make up January.
So, lets light a candle and see what happens….
Various groups have met throughout the pandemic over Zoom (and there is a kind soul who has paid for me to have a 2 year subscription to enable that) and those pockets of time and shared experience have kept some of us going socially, but also have become for some a real anchor*.
For Epiphany then, on Sundays 2nd/ 9th/ 16th/ 23rd/ 30th January – meeting for just half an hour (20:20-20:50) let’s see what Art might enrich or challenge us with, what might speak to us or nurture us.
I will have some Art but really would invite any of you to bring a piece of Art (email me beforehand so I can screen share). A good place to start might be Google Images – type in ‘Feast of Epiphany Art’ – and see what you find !
I will let you get back to Advent for now and may it and Christmas also bring you much joy and blessing.
*still running regularly despite being able to meet face-to-face are weekly Bible Study, weekly service of Compline, monthly Coffee and other bits and bobs less regular.
Nations shall come to your light
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60.3
the bright splendour whom the nations seek:
may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light
discern the glory of your presence in your Son
the Word made flesh
Jesus Christ our Lord.