Saturday, January 06, 2018

Our Epiphanies

tImage result for feast of the epiphany celebrations around the world 2018

The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi
    (Matthew 2:1–12).
  • the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
  • a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
  • a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
This is the Feast of the Epiphany, the transition from the twelve days of Christmas to the celebration of the coming of the Magi or Wise Men to the young Jesus. Even though we crowd the Magi into the manger scene with the Holy Family, shepherds, angels and beasts, they arrived considerably later, perhaps when Jesus was a toddler. In many places around the world there are parades and special events today, as well as worship services.

Along with the capital-E Epiphany we often recognize our small-e ephiphanies at this time of the year, the "aha!" moments of faith which are awakenings. We want to believe that when we are transformed by Christ we pass through portals into new understandings of what it means to seek him out and adore him.
For many of us those transformational moments have included changing views on woman as full partners in ministry, respect for those from other religious traditions, awareness of other non-human creatures as part of the "communion of saints" and recognition that human sexual attraction and expression takes different forms. Sometimes we have needed to repent of prejudices and exclusion which were not consistent with the gospel.
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Yesterday we saw the film Call Me By Your Name which is on the Top Ten of 2017 lists of a number of film critics. It is a compelling story, beautifully told and acted, about a 17-year-old who experiences his own awakening as a young gay man. It is a love story, and powerful. Not long ago this film might not have seen the light of day, let alone be acclaimed. Certainly I wouldn't have gone to see it as a younger man, in part because of my religious convictions.

As I look back through the decades I'm chastened by some of the views I've held, supposedly because I was a Christian. Some of the eventual changes of heart and mind were "aha!" in nature but others came as the result of a long journey of rethinking and re-feeling. I hope that all the transformational experiences have come as the result of the gospel of love, which is the truly compelling force of the life of Christian faith.

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