In a specifically Christian context, epiphany is a reference to the Theophany or manifestation of God in Jesus Christ.
But I've been arguing all week with several Christians who were not only hell bent on demonizing Islam for purposes I could not get them to admit (I assume evangelistic -- the worse THEY look, the better WE look? Apparently?) but who also refused to admit Christianity was capable of manifesting anything evil, false, untrue... even going so far as to state that anyone who would teach or practice "unchristian things" was "not a true Christian." For example: the prosperity pastors in Africa pouring acid down children's throats for money, to "eradicate witchcraft," weren't really Christians.
How convenient. The pedophile priests were probably Hindu, but I digress...
I'll be blogging a lot more about this in the coming weeks because I feel a huge desire to repent for all of the sins I've committed as a Christian, and for all of the sins my faith-of-origin has committed through the last two thousand years in the name of Christ (overcompensation tends to be in my nature). Also because I have a lot of built-up schtick I need to utilize.
Meanwhile, I wanted to spend a little time in this exploration of Epiphany, thinking about the Epiphany of God outside the boundaries of Christendom and Christian jargon.
Second, I'm reminded of an article a friend sent me a week ago: Muslims serve Christmas Eve dinner to 300. He wrote wryly: "those damn Muslims, doing what Jesus told US to do. Terrorists." The article describes how a local Muslim group in Montreal decided to reach out to their local community by donating, and serving food at the Christmas Eve dinner at a mission in town. As an aside, the fundamentalist man I was arguing with today (very angry) had said, "Muslims will babble 'Allah Akbar' while cutting your throat!" And ranted on about how superior Christian morality is. But I see Christ wherever the Fruits of the Spirit are manifested in the world. I don't need a fish on the bumper for permission to approve. And I've certainly had my throat cut by more than one Christian in my life, yelling "Praise Jesus"... well, we Christians stab in the back more typically don't we? Ah, but I'm getting off track again. You'll have to forgive me. These are posts to come and I'm just too darned excited!
In my view, the service of that Islamic group on Christmas Eve in Montreal is an epiphany.
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." He didn't give a lot of stipulations. And he didn't ask for a code word.
Finally, as I've written about the Tao Te Ching and Rumi many times before, my wife bought me The Gift by Sufi master poet Hafiz for Christmas this year. The beauty of the words, and the universality of the truth I find here, is an epiphany:
E V E R Y W H E R E
Through the streets
Throwing rocks through windows,
Using my own head to ring
Pulling out my hair,
Tearing off my clothes,
Tying everything I own
To a stick,
And setting it on
What else can Hafiz do tonight
To celebrate the madness,
Of seeing God
* * *I hope you'll read all of the other participants in this month's Synchroblog!