This phrase has challenged me a lot in the past week, since I heard it read last Sunday in church in Norfolk.
Having encountered Jesus, their lives were changed - forever. They understood things which they had never grasped before. The dictionary definition of the word Epiphany is;
A manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something, an intuitive grasp of reality through something simple and striking, an illuminating discovery, or realization.They went home by a different way. OK, I know that means 'by another route', but I suspect it also meant that ever afterwards, maybe they saw life in a different way, and their behaviour was changed because of their Epiphany.
For me, personally, I believe this applies in two ways - when I first truly encountered Jesus and became a Christian, my life was turned round, and I started living in a different way. But also, my daily experiences of God's grace should also affect the way I think and act. I need to be constantly re-evaluating things, asking WWJD?
Sainsbury's tagline 'Our values make us different' applies just as much to those of us who claim to be walking the path of faith s it does to supermarket operations.
Even with my strong Nonconformist heritage, it is not always easy to be different - sometimes it is tempting to just shut up and blend in with the crowd.
But this year,
I want to have the courage to speak out for what is true and just
I want to have the strength to stop and help those in need, not pass by on the other side
I want to have the faith to say 'this is wrong, and we can work to change it for the better'
I want to have the hope that believes things will be different
and above all
I want to have the love that says 'OK you are different from me in some way - but I still care about you, and want the best for you'