Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The definition of epiphany:

1. a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity.
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

I had an epiphany (definition #3) Sunday morning in Sunday School, but since it's the Christmas season, I love the fact that there is that Other definition, too.

Our lesson was from Luke 5:33-38. It starts out with some people asking Jesus why His disciples didn't fast like those of John and the Pharisees. He compares the time to a wedding celebration. I get that.

But then He tells a parable about patches and wineskins. Usually I get the transition from the situation to the parable, but I have never understood this one...
...until Sunday. There was some word or short phrase that Mr. Jim used (and I WISH I could remember what it was) that made the light bulb go off. Here's my explanation:

The people saw John's followers and the Pharisee's followers doing what had always been done. Both groups, though different, were recognized as religious leaders. And then the people saw Jesus and His followers doing something at odds with that tradition. Jesus' comments about the bridegroom are setting the stage for a new way of doing things . . . a new kind of relationship. The parable is to illustrate that you can't use the old trappings of religion to wrap up this new relationship. It doesn't fit. Yes, some of the ideas are the same. Cloth is still cloth; wine is still wine. But the process is different.

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