In seeking God, what are we looking for? Sometimes we look for God to help us make sense out of the past. Other times, we pursue God to give us hope for the future. While both of these have their place, it is best to start with an Epiphany focus. An Epiphany focus temporarily puts aside the past and the future. Epiphany means to discover something right now, in the present. It is a revelatory moment. It is seeing something either for the first time, or looking at something we have known before in a whole new way.
The Magi in the Gospel had an Epiphany focus (Matthew 2:1-12). They saw the star in the east and they followed it immediately. They did not delay by asking where the star came from or where it was leading. They knew the star was important and off they went, they could ask questions about it later. Following the star, eventually they arrived where Jesus was born and laid eyes on him for the first time. Immediately they saw that they were in the presence of the Divine so they responded without hesitation by giving him gifts. They did not ask how the child could help them make sense out of their past or what he could do for them in the future. Those questions could come later. For the moment, they knew they were in God’s presence and they responded accordingly.
Discovering Jesus’ presence in our lives needs to begin with now. Wondering about the past or fretting about the future can distract us from discovering him in the moment. If we are hurting now, we need to know that we can be soothed and strengthened now. The why questions can come later. If we are guilty now, we need to know that we can be forgiven now. Questioning why we did what we did or how we will behave in the future can wait. If we are feeling alone now, we need to know that the Lord is with us now. What got us to this lonely place or if a lonely future is ahead does not really matter at the moment.
It seems like looking for God would be much easier if we had the clarity of a star to guide us. We have something better than a star. We have today and the stuff of our own lives. It is in these lives and it is today that God can first be found.