EAO, 6 January 2018 -- Everyday miracles of mercy, known only to us personally, abound. And perhaps not only to us, but to one or more others with us who are part of that miracle. Human journeys can be lit by a thousand small stars pointing out His plan of salvation for us in the happenings of our lives. It is worth talking about one on a day that we celebrate the Epiphany.
The two individuals concerned had decided on a walk outside the city - call it the boondocks or the bush, depending on where you live, or maybe just the periphery, a rather 'in' word these days thanks to Francis! One of the two was a Believer and yes, the capital 'B' is important here. The other was a believer. In his Christian tradition he had been 'dedicated', in his words, as a child. And that's as far as it had gone. In our Christian tradition that probably does not equate to baptism. So, there was a periphery of place and a periphery of persuasion ... perhaps.
The Believer mentioned that 6 January is the Feast of the Epiphany - a word that does not easily summon up clear and distinct ideas, even for Believers! But the mention of 'wise men' triggered a kindergarten, or was it a Sunday school memory in the other: "Ah, the shepherds (was it?) and the gifts, frankincense, myrrh and, and ..."
"So it's 'epiphany' is it? Can you explain that?"
Three hours later, a lot of basic Good News had been retold, and Believer and believer were much sunburnt into the bargain! It began from the very first Good News that is the story of the Epiphany, a revelation to Magi who were from the periphery. The retelling had to include, of course, the other end of the story, the death and resurrection of the child in the manger on display that day.
But the Gospel can be told in three hours!
"I have learned more in the past three hours than I had learned in all my days of schooling and the fifty-odd years that followed them," the believer told the Believer, nearly tripping over a tree root and wryly adding that "there are times when one has to keep one's eyes on the ground, not just the stars in the heavens!" But he also saw that there was some benefit to "looking to the heavens instead of being bent over our own broken and selfish worries."
The two parted company, the believer saying to the Believer: "Glad to call you a friend. And I'm enjoying the path I'm on - and the journey!" It is not quite the story of Philip and the Ethiopian - there were rock pools around, but no request for baptism, not as yet anyway. The thought of hanging around the periphery can be frightening at times, but the Epiphany is a revelation that God is found there.