Deep and wide

Happy Epiphany! It’s a new time in the year, newer even than the January 1 of less than a week ago, the days growing (if imperceptibly) longer, the colour of the liturgical season now green to symbolize growth and discipleship.

I’ve been thinking of the little kids’ chorus we used to sing, the one with the catchy melody and arms stretched first as far as they go vertically, and then as far as they go horizontally.

Deep and wide, deep and wide,
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide…

The Christmas event is the “deep” — the incarnation, God become human, a long downward journey indeed.

His state was divine,
Yet he did not cling…
But emptied himself…
And became as persons are… (Philippians 2:6-8)

Epiphany is the “wide,” for it’s the coming of the Magi it celebrates, and what the Magi reveal is the beginning – a foretaste – of what the incarnation intended: all peoples streaming into the tent of God’s mercy. One of today’s readings was Isaiah 60:1-6, which speaks (“though night still covers the earth”) of the rising glory and of that

assembling and coming…
your sons from far away
and your daughters…
and your hearts being enlarged…
bringing gold and incense
and singing

I’m singing the kids’ chorus, opening arms wide to remember the meaning of Epiphany, and for supper we’ll have one of our favourite non-supper-like meals, roll-up pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and syrup, and maybe for dessert we’ll enjoy the pomegranate we bought the other day, which associates so easily with the Magi and their quest and their gifts, and their message of Everyone and Everywhere under the mercy and glory of God.

6 thoughts on “Deep and wide

  1. I love this imagery, Dora. I plan to share this post with a dear friend who is asking for epiphany blessings and has found many already. Deep and wide!

    And the idea of wise men carrying pomegranates. I like it,too.

    • Thanks, Shirley! BTW, I enjoyed reading your review of “Reluctant Pilgrim” in the latest issue of CC. Your work on memoirs gives you such a wide range of reference.

  2. Thank you Dora. You always manage to make stories and images resonate. That verse from Phillipians sounds very Buddhist to me. I am always amazed at the flex that is embedded in such metaphorical and beautiful prose.
    Not to mention, I hadn’t hummed Deep and Wide for about a million years…came back instantly🙂
    As for the pomengranates, it also makes me think of the myth of Persephone and her eating of those seeds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persephone
    Your family is very lucky to have you and your wisdom in their lives. Thanks for sharing some of it with the rest of us.

    • And thank you for your comments, which widen this out further in all kinds of interesting directions! Ah, the lure, the trickery, of pomegranate seeds — and the intimations of seasonal rebirth. Latter not so easy to hang on to when it’s minus 17 C and snow in the forecast!

  3. Hi Dora, I too really appreciated your Epiphany meal & insights linked to that “deep & wide” chorus of my childhood, which, interestingly, I have been singing to my toddler grand-daughter this past year because she loves all songs with actions! Your words reminded me of an excellent Epiphany sermon I heard last Sunday in which a “younger” speaker (in his late 40s!) drew attention to the lost emphasis on Epiphany among Mennonites which he thought was regrettable, because as it is now, the Christmas story ends with the birth of a child instead continuing on with the journey of faith which all of us are on as we seek to incarnate “the way, the truth & the life” in our daily lives. “Sol” could still remember days of his childhood when his particular stream of Mennonites had a three-day holiday to commemorate the journey of the Magi (or “Wise Guys” as my little grand-daughter called them when she looked at pictures in The Nativity story!), a focus which he thought was really important because of the communal emphasis on travelling together, guided by a Star of Hope, and “learning from each other & sometimes changing direction as we go.” He concluded with the Ephesians text for last Sunday (3:1-12) which highlights “the boundless riches of Christ” and widens the circle of faith, embracing everyone, even us Gentiles who have become “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers of the promise”—part of the mystery of Christ (which was from the beginning) and the world-wide community of faith throughwhich we become “the light of the star” for each other as we continue that journey together and seek to live faithfully in the 21st century. Leona

  4. I’m glad you mentioned the Ephesians text, Leona, because as you say, that was part of the Epiphany readings too, and includes, if one goes a bit further in the chapter, the prayer of “the deep and wide” — the prayer “that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you…will have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.” Astonishing words, really. — I also enjoyed the lively interaction between you and your little granddaughter that shines out of your comment. Thanks!

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