January 8, 2012

This Sunday begins the season of “Epiphany.” An “epiphany” is an “A-ha” moment. It is an “oh-yes-now-I-get it” experience. It is the realization in our everyday life of Emanuel; God living with us, in us, and around us. An epiphany is our personal “dove-come-down” event (as the dove descended on Jesus when he was baptized and the voice of God blessed him). These “light-bulb” moments are times in our lives when something stops us in our tracks, and the Divine reaches into our hearts and touches us, and we feel the “Wow!” of the Holy Spirit.

Such moments are beyond words, and we’ve all had them—when a mother holds her newborn for the first time, when meaning breaks through in the midst of suffering, when a quiet still dawn brings the first rays of a sunrise. Ever seen a Hawaiian sunset? Ever had a problem resolve itself with a power or strength beyond your own? Ever felt a prayer answered. To taste the depth and richness of our epiphanies, we need to awaken, to remember our journey through our Advents and Christmases, and to be open to those special moments that pass too quickly.

Epiphany is the next chapter in our ongoing life-experience represented by the church year. Symbolically, our epiphanies are the extensions and culminations of our Advents and Christmases. The seasons of the church year, as with our personal narratives, take their significance from their sequence. They are acts in a play, each leading to the next. Both ancient and contemporary, they are our story.

This year, the season of Epiphany has seven Sundays, beginning this Sunday as we are reminded of the “A-ha” of the Wise Men (and the dove at the baptism of Jesus). This year, Epiphany will end on Sunday, February 19th when we journey up the mountain with Peter, James and John and experience their “A-ha” moment with Jesus at the “Mount of Transfiguration.” They wanted to enshrine the moment; can’t do that! Epiphanies are too fleeting. Tuning into our epiphanies and experiencing our “transfigurations” is an art.