noun. a moment of great revelation or realisation
The feast of Epiphany was celebrated by many on January 6th. This is a time in the Christian calendar that recognises that Jesus was revealed not only to the Shepherds but to the Magi. To have Gentiles come and worship Jesus was an astounding revelation of God's salvific plan for all humanity, later realised as the Holy Spirit came in power to Jew and Gentile alike.
Peter had an ephinany, or revelation from God regarding the Gentiles which paved the way for the church in unity and purpose together. Last Wednesday should have been such a time. A moment where the church reflects on its unity and purpose. A moment where we simply wait before God and let Him reveal. A moment to celebrate how the light of Jesus spreads to all nations, to all people.
We did get a great revelation, one which I hope wakes the universal church and every single believer within. Yet, instead of unity, we saw disunity, instead of light we saw darkness. We witnessed Christians sacking the Capitol while carrying flags that said 'Make America Godly Again,' a message of anti-ephinany based in darkness and untruth. We saw violence being justified in God's name, claiming 'It's all in the Bible. Everything is predicted. Donald Trump is in the Bible.' We witnessed our symbols of faith being used to prop up Trump and his MAGA (Make America Great Again) narcissistic ideologies.
It is easy for us to sit here in our smugness, largely safe from the ravages of Covid-19, point the finger and say that is not us. And to a point we may be right. Yet, I wonder.
As we have entered this post-modern age we have witnessed the separation of church and state, Christianity losing its power and position. As the middle of the 20th century rolled around, we saw the advent of the cinema and entertainment offering something else on a Sunday. And slowly the church has retreated into its own sanctuaries, the message of Christmas and Epiphany largely hidden within four walls of self-serving worship, duly rolled out on red carpet once a year to an increasingly ambivalent audience.
Within all of this though, has remained a deep-seated desire to MTCGA (Make The Church Great Again.) Many Christians believe it is our right to have power and position. Many believe it is our right to have our say, no matter what. And so we see the gospel being propagated through messages of hate, against homosexual practice, against abortion, against euthanasia...our list of what the church is against far outweighing what we are actually for. And so we sit in pews, worship couched in muttering about the state of the world and judgement, hands raised upward to God, yet often barely lifting a finger.
'We must reconstruct communities where we can know and speak truth, serve the needy and the poor, love our neighbors, learn to be poor in spirit, rejoice in suffering, and witness to the light of Christ amid darkness.' Trish Warren
We need a new epiphany. The church needs great revelation. Every single believer needs a fresh realisation of purpose and calling to unity. Jesus came as a servant, symbolised as a totally helpless babe, no power, no pre-conceived rights, rather in the most humble of beginnings. This is what we need. To let go. Let go of our pride. Let go of our self-conceived rights. Let go of our belief that we need to convert the world. And come again as babes before God. To see again with new eyes of wonder and awe. And then to go, in love, in mercy, in peace, bringing wholeness, justice, reconciliation, serving the world just as Jesus did. And leave the judging and the saving to God.
This is the true Kingdom of God. We need to get on our knees, leave egos at the altar and seek fresh revelation, to see what God wants to do through us as humble servants. '...what does the LORD require? To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' This is true epiphany...to catch a glimpse through God's eyes and to act.