This post is part of the January 2011 synchroblog on the topic “The Manifestation of God.” Now, when I first read about this synchroblog – and the fact that it would fall around the celebration of the Ephiphany – I again thought about not participating.
As most of my readers know, I did not grow up in a liturgical tradition. I mean, obviously, we had our “liturgy,” but it didn’t follow the traditional Christian calendar.
Then, I thought more about the description of this synchroblog topic:
This month’s synchroblog’s theme is inspired by the season of Epiphany which begins on January 6 and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. The word “epiphany” is rich in meaning. Epiphany is derived from the Greek epiphaneia and means manifestation, shining forth, revelation, or appearance. In a religious context, the term describes the appearance of an invisible divine being in a visible form. It can also indicate a sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. An “epiphany” might refer to those times in life when something becomes manifest, a deep realization, a sudden recognition that changes one’s view of themselves or their social condition and often sparks a reversal or change of heart. In the spirit of Epiphany we invite you to share stories, experiences and/or thoughts about “The Manifestation of God.”
I realized that while I did not celebrate “the season of Ephiphany” annually, the idea of epiphany is central to my understanding of who I am in Jesus Christ.
In fact, it all goes back to Jesus’ statement to Peter upon Peter’s confession that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17 ESV)
I believe that all who are God’s children have such an “epiphany” – that is, such a revelation from God that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that we have salvation, a place in God’s kingdom, and a restored relationship with God through him.
So, I began to ask myself, when have I seen Jesus Christ revealed? Immediately, so many examples popped into my mind. But one episode stood out clearest. So, I decided to share about this one particular day that I saw Jesus revealed.
Rhonna was a friend of ours. We had met her several months before in “the Neighborhood” – a government assisted housing project in our city. She was a single mother with four children who was both working and going to school to try to make a better life for herself and her family. Over those months, Rhonna had begun to share part of her story with my wife, Margaret. She had had a rough past.
Once, when we were out of town, Rhonna called us. She had gotten into some legal trouble when she tried to break up a fight. Now, because of the legal trouble, she was being kicked out of her duplex.
After several weeks of trying to get the decision reversed, the government organization gave Rhonna and her family an eviction notice. She had to move out; there was not further recourse available.
We told some of our friends about Rhonna and her situation. She had to move out of her duplex, and she had to move right away. Could anyone help?
Several of our friends showed up at Rhonna’s duplex with a couple of trucks and willing hearts. Together, we loaded the family’s belongings into the trucks and a few cars and made several trips to a local storage facility. Rhonna had decided to store her belongings and move in with her mother in a nearby city.
That night, I saw Jesus several times. I saw Jesus in the humility of a single mother who was willing to ask for and accept help – even from strangers. I saw Jesus when Rhonna began to weep and share with my wife about her struggles and her past experiences with domestic abuse. I saw Jesus in the faces of my friends who were willing to give up their evening for a complete stranger who could never repay their kindness.
I saw Jesus that night so many times and in so many ways. As our lives intertwined with his, I knew that our Father in heaven was revealing something special to us. That night, the kingdom of heaven was close.
You see, it’s very possible for God to reveal himself to us in the form of dreams or visions. But, God is present with his children every moment of every day. We should look for and expect to see “revelations” from God when his children are following him.
Here is a list of other posts that are part of the January 2011 synchroblog “The Manifestation of God“: