I have been reading Enuma Okoro in the Weekend FT. Her New York Diary – a reflection on Epiphany and epiphanies – was wonderfully thought provoking. Sadly it is behind the FT’s paywall.
For better or worse, I left faith and religion a long time ago. Although I started to train as a priest I never reached journey’s end. We were warned that the second year would be difficult. It was in fact surprisingly easy to find a different way. Nonetheless, I have always been captivated by the journey of the Magi. Whether in the art of the Renaissance – I first saw Gozzoli’s beautiful fresco in the Medici Chapel some 50 years ago – or in T S Eliot’s retelling – a cold coming for Birth or Death.
And this morning I was struck by Enuma Okoro’s reflection,
The Magi were said to be priestly people, astrologers who could read the skies and stars and signs. One of my favourite parts of the story is that the wise men travel home by a different way because they have been warned that the old way is no longer suitable. Now they know what they know, and they have seen what they have seen, the former way home can no longer lead to preserving life. They were not the same people returning as those who left.
And as we set out on our different journeys in 2021, she puts it perfectly
The reality of 2020 still sits before us all. . . Knowing what we know, and seeing what we’ve seen, none of us can really be at home with ourselves and with the world as before . . . it seems clear that most of us want to return by a different way. Whether we wanted it or not, the past year has allowed, if not enforced, the unearthing of things — in our relationships, in our life choices and negotiations, and in the journeys we’ve found ourselves on.
Our challenge what we are going to do about it.