January 02, 2007

Looking Forward to January 7, 2007 -- Epiphany Sunday

This Sunday we celebrate the festival of Epiphany. This commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Holy Family as told in Matthew's Gospel. We will also be celebrating the sacrament of communion this week.

The Scriptures for this Sunday are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 72 (Voices United p.790)
  • From the Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

The Hymns are:

  • 91 The First Nowell
  • We Three Kings
  • 457 As We Gather at Your Table
  • 79 Arise, Your Light is Come

The Sermon title is: God Revealed
Early Thoughts: The word Epiphany means a manifestation of the divine. On this day we celebrate that God was made visible. This is the ending of the Christmas Season of the Church year (this season is 12 days long--that is where the song comes from).

So part of what we do is we tell the story of the Magi visiting. Wise Ones from a distant land who bring highly symbolic gifts: Gold to designate royalty, Frankincense to suggest divinity, and Myrrh to foretell the death (these gifts are described in the middle 3 verses of We Three Kings). Please note that Matthew never says how many visitors there were, just that there were three gifts. In conjunction with this we read the Isaiah passage that likely shaped Matthew's telling (or creation) of the visit story.

But Epiphany needs to mean more than the story of the Magi. Epiphany is a time to look at how God is made manifest, real, and visible in the here and now. How is God revealed to us today?

The answers of course are legion. There are many different ways God is revealed to God's people. One is in the gathering to reflect on the old stories and what they say to us today. One is in sharing a meal together--either the symbolic meal of bread and juice we share this Sunday or a full meal sitting around a table. One is in the knowledge that we are a part of a larger community. One is.... There are so many others.

This Sunday come and join us as we reflect a little bit on how God is revealing Godself in the world today. And remember that God follows Gods rules--not just our own suppositions about who she is and how he acts. So we always need to be aware that God may be revealed in surprising ways.

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