At my house all of the Christmas decorations are down except for the stars. We still have our star light hanging in the window and we still have a row of tiny stars strung across the doorway into our kitchen. We are still in the season of Epiphany. Still in the season of aha!
What does it mean to have an Epiphany?
How do you know? How do you know you’re having one?
Does everything suddenly become clear? Is it that moment when suddenly the fog parts and there’s clarity before you? Where you could not see before, are you now able? That moment of recognition or the light suddenly goes on?
Do you think that this is what it feels like to hear God’s call? An Epiphany?
I remember the first time I said out loud that I thought I was called to be a priest. It didn’t feel so much like an Epiphany as the wrong words came tumbling out of my mouth, and that I now needed to find some way of gobbling them back up before anyone noticed.
Like I meant to say: “Pass the water please,” but instead, “I think I might be called to be a priest” fell out.
Both my Dad and I sat in stunned silence for at least 5 minutes.
It was something that became clear to me over time. It’s something that’s still becoming clear. Or at least, I feel as though I might be growing into it – a little.
Could an Epiphany be something that unravels over time? Might is be something that we need help to understand or hear?
This story of Samuel’s call is so lovely.
Three times God called to him. Three times he got up out of bed and went to Eli thinking it was him calling.
And I love how this passage starts:
“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.”
The word was rare in those days and visions were not widespread. As if those things might be wide spread at some other time – or more common.
Like hearing the word of The Lord might possibly become a more common experience. I’ve said this before I think, but honestly I wish that the word of The Lord was more common! If only we could hear a voice and be told – and for sure some do – but my own experience of hearing God’s voice has rarely been so clear.
Although, I would be totally willing to admit that the likelyhood that I wasn’t able to hear what God was trying to tell me had more to do with my ability to listen then God’s ability to communicate with me.
Honestly, it took one of my profs telling me that he thought I should consider becoming ordained before I took it very seriously. I was already in seminary, already in the Masters of Divinity program but convinced that I was not on the ordination track.
And I actually do believe that each of us in this room has a vocation that we are being or have been invited in to.
Each of us has been or will be called to participate in God’s ministry. We are called into ministry as nurses, teachers, plumbers, stylists, students, teachers, parents, and the list goes on…
Too often we assume that only those of us who are called into church ministry are the only ones with a ministry. But it isn’t true. In fact we are invited to be all that we can be in the world and the world needs a huge variety of ministries.
On the posters for St. Brigid it says:
Gathered. Transformed. Sent.
I have been at a couple of planning events recently where it occurred to me that we put the least amount of emphasis on being ‘sent’. Our former Bishop’s words of blessing began with, “Go now into the places you have been given responsibility….’ And it went on from there.
We come here, we listen to scripture, reflect, pray and then we go back into our lives, our vocations, our famillies, the places were we live our ministry out. The places where we continue to be called by God and invited by the spirit to live as Gods hands and feet in the world.
But did you hear that call? Did you have an Epiphany? Did someone hear for you and say, “no, pay attention, I think that’s God talking to you.”
What did it sound like?
Are you still discerning? Still wondering about your direction? And what if it changes? What if you are called to be something for a time and then you are called to be something else? That too is possible.
Life is not static, we grow and change and learn – we grow in our faith and learn to listen better, hopefully.
I like having the stars in my house, though I will put them away eventually, but I like being reminded of Epiphany – it’s a reminder to pay attention, to watch, to listen. In our story it was the stars that brought the wisemen and the shephards to Jesus and they recognized him and Gods own.
It’s the stars that remind us to lift our heads, to look and be curious. God has a place for us. There is a ministry to which each of us are called.
A place where we are called to be and to make Christ known – if only by our actions and the ways in which we love our neighbours. We are Christs own. Amen.