An epiphany is a sudden realization.
In the church, Epiphany usually refers to the arrival of the Magi and the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles, meaning the non-Jewish world.
Author Flannery O’Connor is credited with paraphrasing a famous verse from John’s Gospel: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” The revelation of Jesus to the world has always carried with it surprise and disruption.
And some people have always been offended.
If Jesus was rejected as a baby by the political powers of his day, and as an adult by the folks of his own hometown, why would we expect it to be different in our day?
No matter how loving and winsome we are, no matter how dedicated and selfless our service to others, revealing Christ to the world carries with it the risk of rejection.
What’s more, we need to give ourselves over to a process of ongoing revelation. We need to continue to allow ourselves to be surprised by what God is doing in the world, and in and through us.
The Magi had open minds and a star to guide them. They didn’t mind travelling a long way to a far-off country where their pagan religion would have been odd, if not downright offensive.
But it was worth it to discover the truth of Jesus Christ.
Now it’s our turn to share the truth. The folks around us are depending on us for their epiphany.
Who minds being a little odd?