What a woman’s diadem is designed to do it to catch the eye. It conveys wealth. It offers a vision of beauty. It establishes a certain understanding of social order. It is a crown of sorts, designed to convey what a crown is designed to convey. It sparkles.
It amazes me when I consider today’s feast of the Epiphany, how very similar are a ladies’ jewels and the star of the East, sparkling a beconing to the Peace which has taken a moist, pink form.
When a person is drowning, the lifeguard must get to the drowning person. They must arrive in the deep waters and be with the drawing person. The savior must then get their attention. I am told by friends who do this work, that it is catching the attention of the victim which is the hardest part of the salvific act. The victim is flailing. Arms fly, legs twitch, eyes dart around madly indicating panic. So often the lifeguard must do something or say something to get the attention of the victim, to reorient their focus. We see this in movies all the time. A slap across the face and then a deep stare into eyes only an inch or two away. “Look into my eyes!” says the lifeguard. Once the eyes connect, the victim settles a bit and can be brought to safety.
As a culture, whose “star” has become a computer or television screen, complete with its warped light and its messages designed to sell, to catch our attention and hold it, we are drowning in words and images. We spend too much time listening to the news and too little time listening to our souls, the angels which accompany us from eternity, the Christ who shows up in a friend lit by a candle at night over a sip of wine.
Aquamarine is my favorite stone. I wear one on my finger given to me by my grandmother when I was a child. It makes a better ring than it ever made a tie clip. It was designed to impress. When I see it on my hand, I am reminded of the clarity of blue-sky. I am reminded that God sparkles through me when I am at my best. I am reminded that my only job in life is to reflect God’s love to every person in whose presence I am.
Today is the Epiphany. Today we look for what sparkles. Today we long for the savior we have, reminded that we need one. Today we sit in silence and awe, staring into something beautiful as a meditation tool to ground us in a God welcoming of our collective beauty as a sentient being among others. We can imagine ourselves as cut stones. We can sit in the setting of our life among others whose sparkle is also brilliant. But we dare not forget that the light comes from the source of all light.
A diadem in a dark room is but a paper-weight, as valuable and as beautiful as a wrench or a log or a river-stone.
Is our job to sparkle? No. Is it to shine? No. Our job is to show up, to seek the light and let that light make us shimmer, together. We are not the setting and we are not the light, we are the cut stone which catches the Epiphany light.