God said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:11 "The Old Testament" New Revised Standard Version)
An epiphany is the showing of the Divine. This is a highly individual experience, communicated to us and filtered by our cultural and personal background. Except in some churches you wouldn't think so because God only comes in very limited and stereotyped ways. Lots of people think that God is unavailable to them.
"I heard the Lord say...."
What exactly does that mean? I've can think of just one auditory experience in my whole life where a voice seemed to speak, and it was clearly not another person. Does that mean the Lord does not say to me?
I wish people would be more honest about their sense of the Divine and use ordinary language instead of jargon. "God showed me.... " I've never felt comfortable with that kind of language and I regret the (hopefully few) sermons I've preached that gave that impression. Indeed the famous epiphany to Elijah could be seen as an attack against the use of jargon and stereotypes. God was not in the fire or the wind or the earthquake. Indeed, God was not even in the beautiful "still small voice" of earlier translations of what is apparently a difficult text to get into English. God is not something habitual and stereotypical; God is God.
God is subject to my doubt- was that really God?
God is subject to interpretation- what did that mean... anything?
The Divine is a reflection- as I thought about what had happened to me I realised....
The Divine is indescribable- suddenly I simply knew- I cannot say how.
God is subject to another's doubt... of course God would not say that. You're wrong.
And God cannot be proved... Oh bullshit! (as my son would say about all this. And to whom shall I appeal?
"Well, the bible says..." Oh puh-lease!! What proof is that?!!
So what follows on these pages is no proof of God, and does not seek to be. It does invite you to think more on the little "aha" moments of epiphany and to wonder if they are perhaps Epiphany with the capital "E." And it invites you to wonder just what you have thought it means to hear/feel/sense etc the Divine, if there be such a thing.
Direct Biblical quotations in this page are taken from The New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
April 25 2002
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