The Epiphany question: Where are you looking for God?
This compelling question of life properly stands at the beginning and the end of a new year: where have you found God?
Each one of our texts this Sunday reminds us that God is not to be found where the world's princes and powers reside. Each text calls us to rouse the world with the message of "Arise, shine, for your light has come."
Many of us try to find God and solve the problems of life by logical, calculating schemes that insure we receive our share. But God is to be found in receiving, not grasping; in giving, not claiming our rights.
All of our texts are emphatic: God's ministers and prime ministers, the friends and fools of the world, have a light to shine in the darkness, an illumination from God that can raise the roof of the world's kings and princes, presidents and prime ministers. As we turn over a new year, one thing is sure: more and more people are trying to find a way to God by climbing the ladders of success and power and respectability. In these days of the twenty first century, the pursuit of money and power has become one of the most powerful mystery religions ever to show its face in the history of humanity.
This makes it all the more imperative that the Epiphany News is that God is found in incarnation, in the humility of birth in a stable. All our texts remind us that light has come upon the "little ones" to share with the "learned," a light more brilliant than the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night, more brilliant than the "thousand points of light" shining in the darkness. Christians are called to offer a ministry of light and a message of illumination to those in power.
And what is this message? "Arise, shine, for your light has come."
From what direction does it come? Not from economics or the wealth of nations.
Not from education or the wisdom of the world. Not from science or technology. Not from star wars notions or war stars nations.
The magi point us to where the world's best hope, the world's only salvation comes: bowing before the Christ who is found and served in "the places that stink and where no one loves," St. Theresa's definition of hell.