The season of Epiphany is coming to an end, giving way to Lent. Throughout these weeks we have witnessed the flickering light of Christ entering into the world, as promised by prophets whose unfocussed visions could dimly see what was to be. We have witnessed this flickering light through a baby born to a virgin, wise men of uncertain origin, an old man and woman who spent their lives hanging around the temple, and through our own flickering, often uncertain faith.
This Sunday, the last Sunday in Epiphany, it will all change. The flickering light will become blinding illumination, the light of God’s presence before which all the stars in heaven fade into insignificance. Only a few will be there to see it. For them, and for us, it will be only a foretaste of what is yet to come on Easter morning. But first we must all go to Jerusalem and to the cross.
We are reminded by the psalmist that “with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” (Ps. 36) Yet it’s often hard to be in that light with confidence. Voices of discontent predict the end of Christianity, of the Church, of God. Friends and neighbors grind their political axes on wheels of bible verses with polarizing rhetoric that bears no sign of the love and teaching of Jesus Christ, no matter how often they use his name. Our own lives and prejudices are problematic. The light always seems to be flickering. Where is the brilliance of the transfiguring mountain top light? Is God hiding?
More likely, and like Peter, James and John before us, the light never has been flickering, it’s just that we see it only through half opened eyes, as if waking from a deep sleep, unable to fully comprehend what we dimly see. This is God’s world, this is God’s Church, we are God’s people. The powers of darkness cannot prevail. And so, let us go on to Jerusalem.