My friend began pouring out her heart-wrenching experience of her marriage breaking apart, and as I listened, I was silently praying, “God, please help her, help us. God, where are you?” Just then, a bright red cardinal lit upon the nearby rooftop and began singing what clearly sounded like, “Right here! Right here!” It was as if God rode in on the wings of a bird song to remind me to simply be present to my friend and pay attention without anxiety, because God was there to help us. It was an AHA moment for me making me aware of God’s always abiding Presence.
Last week the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany – recalling the wise ones from the East who discovered Christ through their study of the stars and the scriptures, came to worship and offer gifts. And yesterday we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, another ‘epiphany’ – when John the Baptist recognized Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, and the voice of ABBA proclaimed him “My Beloved Son.”
Our presider/homilist in his preaching for Epiphany shared an AHA moment when a poor Central American woman who, aware that she had no other gift to offer this visiting priest, simply asked to wash his feet. As he reluctantly allowed her to do it, Jesus was made visible to him through her. It was an ‘epiphany’ moment for him, so he asked: “What are the ‘epiphanies’ of your life when Christ was made visible to you?”
For the past week this story and the homilist’s question have inspired me to list special moments throughout my life that have revealed, built, or strengthened my love and commitment to Christ. For me it goes way back to when as a child in kindergarten Sunday School I listened to bible stories about Jesus – his kindness, courage, and goodness, and a spark of love ignited in me. Then as I was given a picture of Jesus welcoming little children I was told this Jesus loves each of us personally and lives forever. That was the earliest AHA moment that came to my mind – one that began a lifelong spiritual journey with Christ, punctuated by many ‘epiphanies’ strengthening this sacred relationship.
As I continue to review my ‘epiphanies,’ my list grows daily, and I experience the ‘fire burning in my heart’— as described by the two disciples looking back on their conversation with the stranger on the road to Emmaus.
What are your AHA moments when God was made visible to you? Remember, relive, and if it helps, write them down, share it. Mary Oliver wrote: “Pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it!”