Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An "Epiphany" in the Lion's Pit

A few more words, if you don't mind, about my preceding post (click here) on Rubens' painting of Daniel in the Lion Pit. Imagine the moment in time depicted in the art work. Surely you'll agree that it is an Epiphany moment, appropriate for the upcoming church season of Epiphany. Both Daniel and the lion raise their eyes expectantly.

Epiphany is associated with light. Light shines down into the darkness of our exile, into the darkness of our confinement and our parched, dried up bones.

Epiphany is also a very public thing, and greatly differs in this regard from the Nativity, which feels much more private and intimate. In Daniel 6:26-28, Darius proclaims Daniel's rescue to every race, color, and creed on earth.

I'm sure not everyone was glad to hear the news. The lions in Rubens' painting look unhappy to be woken up so early at the break of day (Daniel 6:19).

Earth's nations and people will not necessarily greet Epiphany with joy and relief. Like hungry lions awoken too early from sleep, they may just be ticked off!

One of my professors back in seminary days in the mid 80s, Bill Muehl, once used a sermon illustration about a little girl socking a small boy in her Sunday School class. It was Easter morning, and the boy had just been explaining that Jesus Christ is risen today.

The manifestation of God's power can be jarring. It can disturb our ease. It can wake us up and open our eyes to entire new paths and challenges of which we may not have dreamed...



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