Consider the story told by Timothy, a patriarch of the Nestorian church. Around 800, he engaged in a famous debate with the Muslim caliph in Baghdad, a discussion marked by reason and civility on both sides. Imagine, Timothy said, that we are all in a dark house, and someone throws a precious pearl in the midst of a pile of ordinary stones. Everyone scrabbles for the pearl, and some think they’ve found it, but nobody can be sure until day breaks.
In the same way, he said, the pearl of true faith and wisdom had fallen into the darkness of this transitory world; each faith believed that it alone had found the pearl. Yet all he could claim – and all the caliph could say in response – was that some faiths thought they had enough evidence to prove that they were indeed holding the real pearl, but the final truth would not be known in this world.
Knowing other faiths firsthand grants believers an enviable sophistication, founded on humility. We could do a lot worse than to learn from what we sometimes call the Dark Ages.
From – “When Jesus Met Buddha” by Philip Jenkins
The entire article bears a read through if you’re so inclined. Aptly selected, I think, to share today as I reflect upon Epiphany.
\i-ˈpi-fə-nē\ - (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
It’s been awhile since I’ve put much thought into any of the markers along the wheel of the Church Year and yet this year in particular I feel drawn to it. One part rediscovery of my Lutheran roots. One part a sense of longing from this journey along the margins. Rediscovering that which so many, including myself, have cast aside in their quest for relevance. Sometimes what strikes me most is not what’s new, but what’s old. Where we’ve been can sometimes be where we’re heading. The “more” we’re searching for can be nothing more than silence or at the very least the willingness to be frank with oneself. Here’s to greater self-transparency in the year to come.