Happy Epiphany! Whatever one says about the Church of England we do enjoy our festivals and seasons.

The season of Epiphany began on January 6 and lasts several weeks.

The word itself sounds rather like church-speak. It comes from a Greek word which means ‘manifestation’ or ‘revealing’.

In Western churches it focuses on the revealing of Jesus to the Gentiles (or non-Jews) and the Bible story behind this is familiar: the visit of the wise men from the east who followed a star and came to worship the infant Jesus.

I find Epiphany both fascinating and also relevant for today.

Fascinating, because here at the start of Jesus’ life – long before his public ministry, the working of miracles and teaching the crowds – we find complete strangers travelling to pay homage.

Significantly they called Jesus the ‘King of the Jews’ but with an obvious sense that his kingdom would be of a very different type to those of others and would extend far beyond the people of Israel.

It’s relevant because the challenge of sharing Jesus with those of other faiths (and none) lives on.

William Booth once asked a Salvation Army rally: “How wide is the world’s girth?”

“Twenty five thousand miles” was the answer.

“Then we must grow till our arms get right round it!” he said.

Such enthusiasm, exercised with sensitivity and practical service, is very much in the spirit of Epiphany.

The Rev Nick Hallam

Hawkshead benefice and Loughrigg team