I continue to find Sam Portaro’s “Brightest and Best” a wonderfully insightful and challenging book about our saints and seasons in the Episcopal Church.  This morning, I read his thoughts on The Epiphany of Our Lord (which is tomorrow).  He starts by noting that the number of the “kings” is three by tradition (probably because the “kings” brought three gifts), but that we don’t really know their number — it is never given to us.  And he continues by noting that the term “magus” was “often a contemptuous name for itinerant magicians and entertainers.”  We like the idea that the wise and mighty (“kings”) of the world recognized Jesus.  But they could just as easily have been “a troupe of wandering artists whose whim to follow a star brings them to the cradle of Jesus.”  And he talks about the “exotic, mysterious, and wonderful” possibility that “some simple and foolish people, drawn to the side of the manger, might surrender everything to the unknown child therein.”

He goes on to suggest that their wisdom was “not the prerequisite to the relationship with Jesus, but the product of knowing the Lord.  Those who encounter God come away with more, and better, than what they bring.  And is this not always the case in every relationship?”

There is, of course, no way to know if he’s right in his speculations.  But I find them insightful, and they challenge the assumptions with which I come to the story.  And that is to the good.  It makes me think again about something I tend to assume I already know and understand well.

I’m just sorry (I found this out when he kindly friended me on Facebook) that while he is urging that we put resources about all our saints (particularly the new ones, that nearly double the number of people we recognize) online, there seems to be no plan to have him expand his own work to include the new names.

Nor does it seem (in what I’ve seen online from them) that the Order of St. Helena is updating their observances so that these newly recognized saints can be easily commemorated with the materials in the breviary.

O well …

Joyous Epiphany to you.  May the light of Jesus Christ shine in your lives in this coming season after Epiphany.

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