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Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Demystification of Epiphany

Right now, would you say your spiritual life is closer to a sunrise or sunset? Is a new day dawning in your life? How so? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition page 1104).

I've heard the saying that prayer changes things...but prayer also changes me. This gets to the kernel of why I will never feel I am approaching a spiritual sunset – things are always changing and so am I. And the change is not pointless and to no effect but opens up windows of insight previously unattainable. Add to this the fact that not only I change, but so does everyone else. Thus ever hour of every day new revelations abound.

Humanity is known as the tool-making species. Tools often are used to enhance perception--say that of a microscope or telescope. What is sought for is heightened clarity. The Ten Commandments brought clarity to human behavior in societies seeking abundant life. It is difficult to see how any society could flourish if theft and murder held predominant sway. Jesus came to clarify the nature of love itself and the direct relation of love to abundant life.

Most all human endeavors open their fields of study to multiple viewpoints. Whether it be science or literature, it is held that the more eyes that look upon a phenomenon the better hope we will have of seeing what's there. I have often heard it said that the Bible never goes out of date for when it is reread during one's life, one always find something new as their storehouse of personal experiences increases. Thus, as a microscope is one type of tool to help clarify, personal experience also becomes a tool to enrich perception.

But as a new microscope might have hidden defects, the perception of our experiential reality can also have hidden defects. Based on such flawed perceptions, a majority can be wrong--popular vote is certainly no guarantor of correctness. It is interesting to speculate if the Ten Commandments would have garnered a majority vote in Exodus or even now.

In the physical world we can search for facts using the tools of the scientific method. Identifying the proper tools to access what should be (rather than what is) is a thousand times more problematic. Jesus taught that it is spirit subservient to love that is important here. For example, I can ask two children to play fair--but how each defines “fair” can be a territory filled with bickering. The tools we use for seeing the physical world are only slightly helpful here. Rather we must have a shared sense of what love means and hold it as regnant to have any hope of sharing common perceived implications. Blatant stealing from one another is not very defensible and is usually illegal. But the human mind can find it an irresistible challenge to devise a way to steal without being blatant about it. That is why Jesus shifted the criterion from rules to spirit.

Overwhelmingly what we need today is avoidance of promising the undoable for fruition at some flippant future date rather than defining the incremental doable at dates certain. We need to stop being pious about our insufferable claims to fairness and spell out exactly what a fair result would look like in concise specificity. It is time to demystify epiphany with precision in the ethical as in the physical world.

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