There is a beach somewhere – the picture doesn’t say where – and a little out from the shore there is a rock in the sea. On the rock there is a cavity for wind-blown earth to gather and in the earth a bird-flown seed has sprouted. It is now a tree: a tree on a rock in the sea! Nature is astonishing.
It is holiday time and the upwardly mobile gather at the nation’s resorts. Families mingle and separate. They swim, they boat, they ride horses. It was a clear day at ‘World’s View’ and you could see a lot of the world. The bateleurs swung by. Two of us climbed the nearby hill. It was steep and hands were called for as well as feet. This meant eyes constantly on the ground. Rocks everywhere. Tiny blue and purple flowers peeped from their edges. From the road below it would look like a barren pile. But here, up close, nature again astonishes.
And nature is a whole. If I am speaking of the wild outdoors I could equally be writing of the mixed-up indoors where a person’s life looks like a wasteland. They have been charged with abuse or they have murdered and will spend decades in prison. Their families will forget them and their neighbours will speak of them in hushed whispers. Or perhaps they are disabled in their minds or they cannot speak or hear or see. Or they are a combination of all these in one person. Eric was like that. Best to pass him by. Forget him. He was useless.
Or so it seems. Come Epiphany! The word means ‘showing’. ‘This is my Beloved.’ ‘Can you see in this child the fulfilment of my creation?’ He looks like any other child born in a migrant camp. But he is the source of life and its final goal, the Alpha and Omega. Look at him and see beyond the hard rock of unbelief the world proposes. See the signs all round of beauty. Take time to ‘be with’ Eric and soon you will see beyond his broken body to the little flowers peeping through his being.
‘The world is alive with the grandeur of God,’ wrote the poet. Can we stop to notice? New Years come and go. Are my eyes more open than last year? Can I be more awake in ’22? Can my light shine? Can my salt savour?
January 2, 2022 The Epiphany Is 60:1-6 Eph 3:2…6 Mt 2:1-12