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In Spirit and Truth

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In Spirit and Truth seeks to encourage discussion and deeper consideration of representation issues in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is hoped entries will prompt reflection and dialogue on aspects of expanding representation and supporting full participation in the PCUSA, especially at the assembly and mid council levels.  

This blog will occasionally feature content written by one of the fourteen members of the General Assembly Committee on Representation, who are church members, ministers (teaching elders) and ruling elders from across the country, as well as links and articles of particular interest. The ministries of advising, consulting, advocating, promoting inclusion, reviewing and recommending actions are vital to the life of the whole Body of Christ. Committees on Representation and/or their functions exists at all councils above session so from time to time we may highlight activities and insights from sister committees on representation at lower councils throughout the church.  

Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. or the General Assembly Committee on Representation.
Author/Facilitator Molly Casteel is an Assistant Stated Clerk and the Manager for Equity and Representation in the Office of the General Assembly.  She is a teaching elder (a.k.a. Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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January 2, 2013

Epiphany: a time for insight and revelation

A post written by the Rev. Rubén Ortiz Rodríguez, GACOR Member, Synod of Boriquen (Puerto Rico)

As the horizon of human knowledge expands many traditions and words take on new meanings.

Initially, the Epiphany (gr. epiphaneia - "manifestation") was a festival that was celebrated twelve days after Christmas in order to remember the birth of our Lord, his baptism in the Jordan River and the manifestation of his glory in the celebrations of the wedding at Cana.

Painting depicts a large caravan of magi descending a hill with horses, persons walking and a large company engaged in merriment as they travel west to see the Christ child.

Die Reise der Heiligen Drei Konige (fragment) by Sasseta Giovanni (1432-1436), currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.

When in the fourth century, the Greek Church adopted the Roman date for celebrating Christmas (December 25), Epiphany began to be seen in the West as a separate festival associated with the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the person of the Wise Men of the East. At present, in many countries Christmas and Epiphany are closely related and mark the beginning and end, respectively, of the traditional festivities.

A large caravan travels by camel and winds its way through a desert landscape toward the viewer.  These are the magi seeking to pay homage to the Christ child.  They extend well into the distance and around mountains/hills.

The Journey of the Magi by James Tissot (1894), currently in the collection of the Minnesota Institute of the Arts.

In the same way that the tradition has evolved, the word "epiphany" has expanded its meaning. As a result of its use in the twentieth-century literature, the word begins to be used to refer the movement in which ignorance turns into insight; a turning point or climactic moment of insight and revelation.

Thus, in our life epiphany moments occur when our thinking discovers a truth that so far had not been realized. But, for this to happen we can´t be content with what we know or limit our experiences to what we are used to.

A simple reading of the Bible shows us how men and women relate many of those moments when they discovered at some point in their lives how God revealed his plan and work. Those moments of epiphany transformed their thinking and how they interpret their life´s circumstances. Thus, under this new revelation and insight, they transformed the world in which they lived.

In our personal and ecclesial experience, have we enjoyed those moments of revelation and insight? How we have transformed the way we think and live? How we have impacted the world in this time in which we live?

The epiphany representing the visit of the Wise Men shocked a ruler, a city and the establishment of his day (Matthew 2:1-12). We, Presbyterians, through our lives, testimonies and our Presbyterian Church need to be wise people that can make that kind of impact in our time.

Tags: christmas, epiphany, festival, gacor, pcusa, revelation