Sunday, January 04, 2009


The Sixth of January is Epiphany, the start of a new season in the Church year. In the Western Church (Roman Catholic, Anglican, etc.), this is the day we remember the visit of the gift-bearing Magi, the epiphany that Christ is for the gentiles too. In the Eastern Church (the Orthodox Churches), this is the day we remember Jesus’ baptism, the epiphany – Jesus’ own, as much as John’s or the crowd’s – that it is time for Jesus to turn from carpentry to building something more permanent.

Not many people in my culture relocate from unawareness of, or indifference or even hostility towards, God to belief as a result of a sudden recognition or epiphany, but – to borrow an analogy from Richard Dawkins – through small incremental steps up Mount Improbable. But within this gradual process, epiphanies, like biological mutations, can result in leaps along the scale.

Perhaps epiphanies come out of the blue. But my hunch is that they come when we are either running away from God – like Moses in the wilderness, or Saul on the road to Damascus – or actively looking for him – like the Magi following the star, or Jesus in the Jordan.

So if you’re hoping for an epiphany this Epiphany, I guess you have two possible courses of action to pursue…

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