Campus Edge started the spring semester by celebrating and learning about Epiphany. Like all good celebrations, it included good food: a meal of salmon, baked potatoes, salad, broccoli, and ice cream (a slight upgrade from the usual Saturday affair, as a way of remembering that it was a holiday/feast day).

We talked a bit about our own experiences with Epiphany, recognizing that many of us had little experience with this church holiday. We were familiar only with the more common definition (Merriam-Webster) of epiphany:

(1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.”

It’s not hard to surmise that understanding the true nature of something (i.e., having an epiphany) would appeal to participants at Campus Edge, whose mission is to “seek to address deep questions of spirituality, faith, and an understanding of God” in a spirit of honest intellectual inquiry. There is much good in celebrating this kind of epiphany, but it still doesn’t explain the church holiday.
Those who had spent time participating in highly liturgical churches (e.g., Episcopal, Roman Catholic, or Lutheran) knew Epiphany as the (brief) time within the church year to celebrate the wise men visiting Jesus, the baptism of Jesus and Jesus’ miracle at the wedding of Cana. Epiphany celebrates the epiphany of Jesus: his true nature as the Son of God who is a light to all people and Jesus’ first revelations of himself, through his baptism and his miracle working at the wedding.

Because light is essential to seeing well, light is often highlighted at Epiphany, as is evidenced in this Epiphany prayer that closed our celebration (from faithandworship.com, adapted slightly):

“Arise, shine, for the Light of the World has come!
Darkness covers the earth and its people, (Isaiah 60:1-2)
but the radiance of God’s Light
burns away its shadows,
illuminates the smallest corner,
and heralds in the start
of a new dawn,
where hearts no longer fear,
souls might be set free;”
where the proud are scattered,
the powerful are brought low,
and the low are lifted up;
where the rich are sent away empty,
and the hungry filled with good things. (Luke 1:52-53)
“Arise, shine, for the Light of the World has come!