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Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, God, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  ~ Jesus, John 17:20-23

Today is the Feast Day of Epiphany in the Christian tradition, especially the Eastern Christian tradition.  It is the day marked by the story of the Magi seeing and following a bright star to the Christ Child, Jesus.

Here is how Merriam Webster defines epiphany:

  1. 1capitalized :  January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
  2. 2:  an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
  3. 3a (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 disclosureb :  a revealing scene or moment
How appropriate it is that on the Day of Epiphany I have had something of an epiphany concerning the scripture passage quoted above.  For quite a while now I have struggled for a phrase or word to describe how I have come to experience God, the Divine Presence.  The title of this blog, "One Eternal Presence," is one of the phrases I use, reflecting an awareness of Divinity that infuses all of creation. Some might call this pantheism or panenthesim, however even these beliefs and words contain a form of "theos" the Greek word for God that is contained in just about every word or phrase used to describe belief or disbelief (atheism) about God. It also connotes a God over and apart from creation and humanity.

Toward the end of Jesus' final discourse with his disciples in the Gospel of John (chapters 13-17), Jesus prays for his disciples and in that prayer includes "those who will believe in me through their word."  In other words, "you and me." Then, he says the amazing words above.

The epiphany for me in this passage is "that they may become completely one" - with God!  "The Greek phrase is "teleioo eis heis," with the key word being "teleioo" which means to make perfect or complete.

So, all of this is to say I may have found my phrase or word! (at least for now) Instead of a monotheist, or pantheist, or atheist, or any other kind of "theist," I've discovered I'm a "teleiooist," a "perfectionist" not in the sense of "rightness" but of "completeness."  God is perfect, complete, and we are part of that perfection and completeness!

The exciting thing about such an epiphany, as with all epiphanies, is that this is not the final word on God, but rather a threshold into a whole new way of perceiving, thinking about, experiencing, and exploring the Divine that is and always will be One Eternal (Perfect) Presence.

Have a great Day of Epiphany! 

1 comment:

  1. I have been doing some thinking about perfectionism in a professional context and your post takes another view of it that is insightful, so thank you!