The Escape to Egypt
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,
The season of Epiphany is not just about gifts and stars and wise travellers but also about fear and flight and a whole caravan of slaughter. Those wise visitors left chaos in their wake. They stirred up the fears of a nation, precipitated the slaughter of innocents and the Son of God was forced to seek the relative safety of Egypt.
Egypt as safe space or as a refuge is a recurrent theme in Scripture. When the people of God became disillusioned in the wilderness, they longed for the familiarity of Egypt, conveniently forgetting the oppressive regime they had endured while slaves in that land.
In the business of transition, which is a slow and often painful process, there will always be the temptation to "return to Egypt" whatever or wherever Egypt may be for us.
In the midst of disorientation and confusion we will be tempted to settle for what we know, however unhealthy or ineffective we know that to be.
The work of renewal demands that we hold tight through the chaos in the knowledge that, though arduous, the God-inspired journey is worth making however uncomfortable it becomes.
And identifying the "Egypts" in whose safety we are tempted to seek refuge will help us recognise when we are settling for less than the promised land that can only be reached by faithful travelling alongside God.
Our prayer is that, on the journey, God gives us glimpses of affirmation - Epiphanies along the way.
(Coddiwompling: travelling purposely toward an as-yet unknown destination.)