Penny Hennessey writes…
In case you’re interested, we’re now in the Church season of Epiphany. Epiphany is an interesting word. It means “manifestation” or showing, but it can also refer to a moment of revelation. In our Churches, it’s applied to the showing of Christ to the Gentiles, generally the Magi, or wise men, and the story in Matthew 2:1-1 is read on the feast day, January 6th. In the following weeks of the festival, the gospel readings are about the first disciples, Jesus’ baptism, the first miracles Jesus performed – all occasions on which people recognised that Jesus was someone with a particular mission.
As well as having a religious context, epiphany can be used to refer to experiences of striking realisation in other areas. For example, Isaac Newton’s realisation of the link between the orbiting of the moon and the falling of an apple (they’re both caused by gravity) can be described as an epiphany. Such occurrences are relatively rare, and generally follow a process of significant thought about a problem. You need to have thought deeply about a problem before the leap of understanding is able to take place.
Thus, it was that some of those who witnessed Jesus’ ministry, both in its early days and later, could recognise his importance through a leap of understanding, and some could not. Those for whom God’s activity in the world was not a matter to which they gave much thought would, most likely, not see it manifest in Jesus. Those who looked more carefully, perhaps with more open minds, could see it more clearly.
Where will we look for God’s revelation of God’s action this year? What degree of knowledge or careful thought do we need to achieve? How open are we to sudden revelation, perhaps in people or places we would not anticipate?
May God grant us all an epiphany in 2018.