An essential part of an honest spirituality is to resist the temptation of reducing elements of our faith into a cartoon. And that’s precisely what we shouldn’t do with The Epiphany of the Lord or we will miss the entire point to our great loss.
The Epiphany is God making clear his salvation to all people in Jesus. The proclamation is that God loves all people and calls all of us to adore him, in so doing, to discover the peace that passes all understanding.
That’s the proclamation we’ve been handing down for thousands of years in the story of the wise men. Our tradition gives the wise men names of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, travelling from the three known continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The salient fact being that these men weren’t from Israel or even Rome. These kings represent the nations of the world and all the people of this earth in search of that Truth that, deep in our hearts, we know exists.
And so they searched, they explored, they discovered the star, and they went to look for the child. And it didn’t matter their pedigree or rank, they went in search not of a rival, but their King. And when they found the God-man, Jesus, a baby in a manger, they fell on their knees and worshipped him.
And they didn’t bring baby gifts, they brought gifts worthy of a King, fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 60 that the nations would bring gold and frankincense to the God of Israel.
So this Epiphany, remember that we are all created to adore God. The purpose of our life is to seek God out with everything that we have, and when we finally acknowledge God’s presence, we are made to worship Jesus, the one true God.
Let’s not make this a cartoon with cute little doll kings and the star made of felt. It matters that we take this seriously because these three kings are us.
We bring our treasure chests in worship,
but what will we worship?
We always end up worshipping something. But the fact is anything we worship will always, always take from us, except Jesus. Only Jesus is the one who in our worship of him gives us life and love forever.
There is more to this story, but that can wait for Sunday. For now, consider what really are the longings of your heart. Is it Jesus? Is it God’s plan for our world made clear in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus? Or is it our selfish desires propped up as virtue or values or whatever we tell ourselves to justify living for our creature comforts?
Let only Jesus, the King of kings, Lord of lords, be the foundation and leader of our lives.