BBC Prayer for the Day – Epiphany

Good morning.

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany – the story of the strange visitors from the East arriving in Bethlehem to present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus and his probably rather startled parents.

There is so much we don’t know about these Eastern visitors. Though we might sing “We three kings of orient are” with great gusto, we don’t know if there were really three of them, the Bible doesn’t tell us they were kings but describes them rather mysteriously as Magi and it is hard to say with certainty precisely where they are supposed to have come from.

However, the story of those travellers tells us much that we can know with great certainly. Their story shows us that God is there for everyone, even people different from us. Spirituality seems to be something that human beings from different traditions have in common. Consciousness of God seems to disrupt and undermine any barriers and boundaries that religious people might put up. The visit of the Magi suggests that perhaps we need to learn about all that is holy from those whom we least expect to share common values and experiences with. God is amongst those who differ from us.

Gold for the holy refugee family on the run from Herod. Sumptuous incense to mark the birth of the most special child. Strange and bitter myrhh to keep us guessing what God has in store in the future.

Loving God, the Magi were guided by a star to where the infant Jesus lay. Guide us by the light of your love to walk pathways of peaceful discovery and make journeys beyond the boundaries of our expectations. Amen

Listen online for seven days


  1. william says

    I’ve been searching through your ‘Prayer for the Day’ meditations for some evidence of the world transforming events of Christmas –
    The Son of God BECAME flesh – He had always been, there never was a time when He was not, according to the apostle John, but a time did come when He BECAME something He had never been, He became flesh.
    The biblical narrative then goes on to show that He became flesh that He might BECOME LIFE-GIVING Spirit. He always had life in Himself, but UNTIL He lived and died on earth he could NOT give us this spiritual life.
    The KINGDOM OF GOD has thus come on earth – in an altogether new way,God’s rule has begun on earth in a way unknown before Christ came.
    So life is possible for fallen man, in fact ‘in all its fulness’ [nothing better is even a possibility], claimed Jesus.
    Do you believe the Church of Jesus Christ has been commissioned to proclaim such truths as these to the world? And if it does not, the doors of our great cathedrals and insignificant village church buildings would be as well unopened, as some OT prophets even called for!
    Just wondering, again, ‘what’s in Kelvin’s head’?

    • I’m happy to confirm that I don’t believe in putting words in capitals in the middle of sentences.

      I’m also happy to confirm that none of the prophets made any comments about either cathedrals or village churches in Scotland in 2012.

  2. william says

    Once again, Kelvin,your narrow understanding of scripture is writ large.
    What do you think the prophets have to say about [or better to] Scotland in 2012?

    • I don’t think Scotland was really on the cards when the OT prophets were around. My hunch is that they spent more time worrying about injustice, poverty, holiness, righteousness and godliness in their own day than worrying about what 2012 might bring to the place we now know as Scotland.

  3. It must be nice to have a stalker. Or not so much.


    • william says

      Are you referring, Ryan, to Kelvin and you !

      • I fear, William, that your reading comprehension does not extend to irony (or much else) ;-).

        Although I note with amusement, that, having accused Kelvin of false prophecy after he gave some benign predictions, you are now demanding that he divine and convey what the prophets have to think about Scotland, 2012 (!) Is there any logic in your theological imagination or is more of a Calvinball (and indeed Calvinistic) sort of affair?

  4. william says

    Just think a little bit more deeply, Ryan, and you’ll discover from how we communicate that we all exhibit irony!
    In commenting on Kelvin’s Prayer for the Day I am certainly not “demanding that he divine and convey what the prophets have to think about Scotland, 2012 “. Rather simply to discern, for example, what the Apostle Paul was saying when he wrote that what we have in the OT was written down for our learning today.
    There is also a fine distinction between the terms Calvinism and Calvinistic; it seems to have passed you by, Ryan, another sign of little comprehension ‘or much else’, as you put it !!

    • Perhaps you could enlighten us on your opinion of Paul’s opinion of OT Prophets? You appear to be the equivalent of a drunk at a concert, heckling a singer for not doing the tune of your choice. Perhaps you could wait till requests night? 😉

      Your lecturing me (or anybody else) on aesthetics might not be as inadvertently hilarious as your presumption that Kelvin doesn’t know the OT, but:
      Calvinistic indeed has a meaning distinct from ‘Calvinist’ and was chosen for specific reasons. They are twofold. Namely:
      i) it was used in the context of ‘Calvinball’, a reference to the make-it-up-as-you-go-along sport of this fine fellow:
      who, for all his qualities of verve and imagination, is a good fictional representation of the literally childish. It is therefore a very apt comparison to make to your apparent views and ‘methodoloy’. ‘Calvinistic’ is distinct enough from the predicted ‘Calvinist’ to tip-off the literate reader of this meaning
      ii) Calvinistic, in the dictionary definition, is indeed distinct from the robust system of Calvinism. It was – again – chosen deliberately. Whatever else one might think of Calvinism, it a solid ideology held with (excessive! ;-)) seriousness that its proponents can argue reasonably for. In contrast, your ideological basis appears to be “If Kelvin says it, me – and God – disagree with it!”. That’s – at best – religiose, not religious.

      There, as yer man says, endeth the lesson.

      • william says

        Is this a first on this website to see the words – Calvinism, robust,solid ideology, ‘ its proponents can argue reasonably for’ – all within a paragraph?
        I would assume with your literary knowledge, Ryan, you will have an opinion of “Paul’s opinion of OT Prophets”, without me upsetting it!
        To come back to topic, the aim of the original question in this thread was to learn Kelvin’s understanding of the OT re the Incarnation in the light of his week’s seasonal meditations, rather than make the “presumption that Kelvin doesn’t know the OT”. I have never shared that presumption; if I had I would not have asked my question.

        • WIlliam – the remit for Prayer for the Day is neither to teach the nation the theology of the incarnation or to teach the nature the theology of William’s understanding of the atonement. I suspect this is so because it would make for rather boring radio. (In the same way that it makes for rather boring conversations on this blog). In the radio biz, being boring comes a close second to sheer silence.

          The aim is to catch the listener’s attention, say something thoughtful and hopeful that they might remember all day and say a prayer, all in about 1 minute 55 seconds. That’s all. If there is a big Christian festival, like the Epiphany in your week, so much the better. You use whatever you have to hand.

  5. Zebadee says

    Poor William Sadly you are 100% wrong when you say that ‘ Kelvin has a narrow understanding of scripture ‘ I would suggest that it is actually YOU who has a narrow understanding of scripture and not the other way round. I truly feel sorry for you. Perhaps you could tell the readers of this blog exactly what your theological understanding and training of the subject actually is? Unlike Ryan I do not read your utterances with amusement just sadness. I would also like to know what you are doing and going to do about poverty, holiness, injustice, righteouness and godliness ? Instead of ‘banging’ on about what others are doing and trying to do to change the society in which we live I simply ask again ‘What are you doing?’

  6. william says

    Kelvin, how could ‘the theology of the incarnation’ ever be boring?
    Even the angels could hardly contain their excitement when they realised what God was about on the Earth.
    And the wonder and thrill of it all is tangible, is it not, in the Apostle John’s opening to his first epistle?
    I’m sure your 1m55s worth could never have been boring radio.
    As for “the remit for Prayer for the Day” that you were given I’m sure that it’s always possible to “use whatever you have to hand.”
    I would agree that none could make similar claims about this blog!

    • William, it is clear that I’m not the person you want me to be, that I don’t say that things you want me to say, don’t believe the things you want me to believe and don’t communicate the things you want me to communicate.

      But really, what is the point of these conversations? Though I learn immensely from many of the people who comment on here, the broken record of bad theology that we get from you has never moved me, inspired me or changed me.

      The fact is, you appear to have different views from my views. The fact that I don’t care for them doesn’t mean I don’t wish you well and hope you are filled with joy. I’m happy to accept this and go on my way rejoicing. I suggest you do the same.

      I’m perfectly happy to accept that is the way it is and move on. What I don’t think I’m happy to do is to keep being expected to answer to your expectations of me. I don’t think those expectations are reasonable ones and I don’t think it is particularly interesting to try to offer justifications.

      I’ve said what I’ve said on the radio and am content with it.

      It is reasonable to expect a sparky discussion on a thread like this about what I’ve said. I don’t think I do want to have any discussion about what I haven’t said. That seems to be an unreasonable expectation.

      Could I ask other commentators to note this and simply not engage with William’s comments unless he says anything that is interesting and on topic.

Speak Your Mind