(Rev. Debbie Taylor is the Senior Minister at Unity Church of Beaverton, located at Fifth and Angel Street. Sunday worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. More information can be found at www.unityofbeaverton.org or by calling 503-646-3364.)
Shortly after celebrating Christmas, people around the world may have wondered about the significance of the Epiphany (Jan. 6). On the Biblical level, this is the time when 'the three wise men traversed afar' to reach the manger. Although they came to see a newborn baby, these truly intuitive kings knew that there was something more powerful about the event than 'met the eye.'
They knew that they were in the presence of greatness, the Absolute, the awe-inspiring divine. For us when a seemingly common occurrence happens that causes us to feel a deeper spiritual connection, such an event is called an epiphany.
Another equally important definition for the word epiphany is 'a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, typically through an ordinary but striking occurrence or burst of insight.'
An epiphany is akin to spiritual awakening, as both can result in a more intimate relationship to one's God/Higher Power. This can be a life-changing event that happens instantaneously or over time. Every single human being, at one time or another, will have the opportunity to experience epiphanies. The depth of the experiences depends on whether we are 'awake' enough to life around us to perceive these special moments and allow them to have an impact on us.
My husband and I were all too grateful to return home safely from the holidays, particularly since mechanical problems on the airplane had delayed us by a day. We sat next to a woman who could see nothing but negative in the delay. She complained from the moment we sat down beside her during our lengthy flight. We couldn't wait to move away as we felt emotionally drained in her presence, especially after just spending wonderful days with family.
As we left baggage claim, I noticed a man in his wheelchair pushing a small suitcase forward. He and the small wheeled luggage were in sync as they rolled through the corridors toward the train. As the man approached the train doors, the overhead announcement came on, 'The doors are now closing.' He had yet to manipulate his bag and himself through the doors completely to board. At that moment, I watched as a young man (complete with piercings, tattoos, sideways hat and sagging pants) saw what was happening, and left his seat to help the man. After the man was safely on board, the young man patted the older man's shoulder and moved to sit down. The older man stopped him, looked him in the eye and firmly shook his hand. He expressed his gratitude.
For one split second, I felt as if time had stopped. Peace and love reigned supreme. Nothing else mattered, and I was filled with an amazing sense of hope and appreciation for humankind. Such an all-encompassing feeling doesn't happen to me like this every day. I felt differently.
May you go through your life aware of the incredible epiphanies that are 'right under your nose.'
May you have an epiphany about epiphanies in your New Year.