Dear Friends and Parishioners:
When we were children we used to argue what was more important, the heart or the brain. Somehow, we were savvy enough to realize there was no absolute or correct answer. Without the heart there would be no brain and, well you get the rest.
Today I was wondering what is more important, an epiphany or the long journey of faith. With an epiphany we stand with the saints, mystics and apostles throughout history. We identify with St. Paul as he was struck blind by the presence of God and transformed forever. We long for that sudden manifestation of the divine, that knits our souls and the universe into one seamless unity. All of a sudden, it all makes sense and we know we are loved and we know our place in the world.
Yet that is akin to saying once we are born we are set for life. This epiphany, that is a manifestation of the eternal divine in our consciousness, is just the beginning of a lifelong journey. In the Hebrew scriptures we read about the prophetic call, when the word of the Lord appears to the prophet. For Abraham it was a call to leave his home and follow where he was led, with no guaranteed destination or promise of success. In following this call into the unknown, Abraham becomes known as the father of faith.
Yes, our heart longs for epiphanies, large and small. We want to see the hand of God at work around us and know our purpose in this world. At the same time we know we are called out of the comfort of the familiar into a world of exploration and service. We don’t know what shape or what direction our journey will take. We don’t know the souls we will encounter and what problems we will be called upon to address.
I suppose our worship is like an oasis or refueling station along the way, for the journey. We are reminded of the epiphanies and journeys of our foremothers and forefathers. We see their courage in the face of adversity and surprising events they encountered. In regular worship we are filled with sacramental grace to keep enduring in our race to attain the crown of the saints in light. It is a long process and the results can feel incremental, but it is the sacramental that reminds and revivifies the believer along the way.