Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany and an epiphany

            We Baptists are somewhat spotty on our observance of official church holy days. Epiphany, January 6, is one of the more ignored dates, but a few FB friends and bloggers jogged my memory this morning, and today is indeed Epiphany.

            I love the word and its meanings, and I checked to make sure I am correct. With an upper case E, Epiphany is “a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.” 

            Isaiah 49:6 is one of several prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures promising light to the Gentiles:  

he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth
.” (NIV)

            As a believer with both Jewish and Gentile ancestry, I cherish my double inclusion. Tribes of Jacob? Check. Gentiles? Check. Ain’t it nice to be chosen twice?

            An epiphany (lower case e) is also “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” I had one this morning.

            The “homely occurrence” preceding my epiphany was my cell phone sounding at 6:00 a.m., me not being able to comprehend and answer it in time, attempting to return the call and getting a busy signal, calling voice mail in my semi-conscious state to retrieve a message from my boss that we were on a two hour delay. Since I am waiting on delivery of a wheelchair—within fifteen minutes, according to Ron the Van Driver!—and the building of a simple ramp (to be completed on the Twelfth of Never) in order to return to work, I didn’t need to receive the cold, dark morning call.

            Then my husband, also semi-conscious, began interrogating me. “Why does he think you’re coming in to work?” He posed the question several different ways, as I squinted in the light of the single, bright light bulb hanging over my head.

            My husband drifted quickly back to sleep, a talent of his I don’t possess, and I lay there cursing November 5 for at least the sixtieth time. And suddenly a verse of scripture I have not thought of in the last sixty days, and probably for many months before, popped into my head. 

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31, KJV

            One year several decades ago, this was our American Baptist Women’s Ministries theme, and I memorized it because of the song we used.

            This morning I felt like a character in a Karen Kingsbury novel, God speaking to me in italics. My epiphany.

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