Tuesday, 5 January 2010

On the cusp of epiphany

For morning prayer the chapel was warmer even as we trudged through crisp snow once more to get to work.
We are praying through the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle for the countries of the gulf peninsula this week including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran and Iraq ...
Today was the eve of epiphany, the last day of Christmas - even if tomorrow is traditionally 12th night. We lit candles on the Christmas wreath, we prayed and we listened to the second half of chapter 2 of John's gospel. The money changers being driven from the temple. I always think of MArk's gospel as being the one that really gets on with the story yet it struck me powerfully today that John gets to grips with even more in terms of who Christ in within two chapters. The glorious logos-celebrating poetry of the beginning moves on to John the Baptist's preaching, confessions of faith about the Messiah and Jesus choosing disciples and then turning of water into wine at Cana. And this followed directly by the shocking story of Christ making a whip and turning over the tables of the money lenders. No shepherds, wise men or angels, no baby in a manger nor pregnant young woman for the teller of John's gospel.
Christ the logos of truth and light is confessed as the messiah, leads and chooses followers, humbly turns water into glorious wine (as a foretaste of the resurrection banquet) and becomes the prophetic logos incarnate sternly saying "you will not turn my father's house into a market place".
On the last day of Christmas I realised once more that the Christmas story isn't about prettiness and niceness this is about God incarnate bening born amongst us to to transform us and the world.