Three people from Mennonite Mission Network's Training and Resources department, reflect on Epiphany. Here, Ann Jacobs, a specialist in urban and African American ministries, marvels at the miracle of God choosing to work through human beings. Also read: In 2023, the star still shines bright, written by Joani Miller, and What does Ephiphany teach us about mission?, written by Joe Sawatzky, a specialist in mission education.
An epiphany is one of the ways God reveals himself to us. I'm convinced that all believers are given an epiphany at least once in their lives. Through this, we have access to communion with God and experience the miraculous presence and glory of God.
Is an epiphany dependent on what we're willing to see or witness? My experience with epiphanies suggests that, if we desire this manifestation, God will share truth that cannot be learned or revealed through other people — insight that can only be given through the spirit, revelation and wisdom of God.
God will teach us based on our readiness to be entrusted with the information. For someone who is determined to be a witness to God's glorious work, God is willing to reveal life-changing inspirations for the purpose of impacting their own or someone else's life.
In an epiphany God's glory infuses creation, as did the light experienced by the shepherds. Sometimes, this light can be seen by others we encounter, as suggested in Isaiah 60:1, "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." (NIV)
We do not experience an epiphany without disrupting our lives and the lives of those around us. Wasn't this the case with the virgin Mary? Every aspect of who her being was forever changed by God's startling work within her. The life of her fiance, Joseph, was changed, as was the life of her relative, Elizabeth.
I love Luke 1:26-38. I get choked up by this deeply complex drama. I thank God that Mary did not spend time pitying herself. Once she got over her human emotions, she connected to her faith in God. She believed the angel, Gabriel, whose first job was to dispel Mary's fear. She fought a good fight by agreeing to what God had commissioned her to carry out — to participate in God's salvation plan for all humanity. Mary didn't allow these events to become about her; rather, she bore witness to what God was doing in her.
When we experience unexplainable situations in our lives, let us join Joseph and Mary in the good fight of faith, a faith that overcomes our foes and our fears.
God's miraculous wonders are often manifested through the simplicity of human beings, whose faith enables them to carry out God's purpose in the world. From the divine throne of God to the humble woman named Mary and through the awful sufferings of Jesus, God's wonderful gift comes to creation.
Let God's glory, the same light that shone at Jesus' birth, shape our lives.