O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
One of the great gifts of the Epiphany is to hear a variety of voices on how God's word is revealed among us. We have heard for weeks the story from Luke's perspective, about the explicit interaction between the human and divine, about angels announcing to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and the shepherds, and anyone else who will listen, about the coming of something great, however impossible it may seem to the people involved. And the movement between heaven and earth runs in both directions, angels announcing the birth of a savior and the rejoicing resonating in the divine and human worlds.
But the story in the Epiphany is oriented toward the particular, and the voice of the divine is much more subtle. The story we have just heard comes after a detailed genealogy, which we hear in reverse, from Abraham through the coming of Jesus. From this point on, we are looking for a particular savior in a particular time and place, whose appearance we have to find for ourselves.
The irony is that we all have to do the work of finding him, to look, as the wise men did for the star, for the things in our lives that will point us toward the one who will save us. Epiphany has a longer history than either Advent or Christmas, but its meaning can be far more personal. The meaning of Christmas is unambiguous, the arrival of an enfleshed God to share our humanity and to sanctify all we do. But during Epiphany, the revealing of this God with us, we begin following our stars, seeking him out however we can, with an eye toward the least likely of places. And that is where our joy is, in seeing the living God among the last and the least in God's creation.
The parish in the Diocese of Atlanta that supported me through my own discernment was the Church of the Epiphany, so named because when it was built it stood on the easternmost edge of the diocese. It was and is a very modest place; the only stained glass was a star that hung above the baptistry. It was emblematic of the variety of people in that parish, young and old, university professors, insurance salesmen and the unemployed, all seeking God out in each other and in the community beyond them. It was among those folks that I learned that all of us have a sacred duty to search for this new king and to pay attention to how the journey changes our lives. Because it is not simply an infant in a manger that transforms us but the work of following our own paths, as different from one another as these gentile magi from the young Hebrew baby they are trying to find.
Today, we are all members of the church of the Epiphany. We all have the privilege of following our dreams, our stars, in hope of finding the one who will change all of us. That journey will look different to each of us, but that is as it should be. So I wish you all a glorious Epiphany, and may God be with you in all your searches.
Thursday Night Dinners
At the end of January or the start of February, we will begin serving meals once a month to the community on Thursday nights. While many of us know the familiar faces around Tinicum, I have learned that there are many folks who are with us on brief stops on their journeys or who are new to the area and would like a place to meet other newcomers. We have conceived this ministry as one of hospitality, of seeking and serving the Christ in each other, and so it is appropriate that we should begin during the season after Epiphany, when we all have the gift and responsibility of seeking out the revealed Christ in our midst. We are also honoring the gift of a parish where no one goes hungry! The details of this new effort are being worked-out as I write this article but if the response is robust, we may decide to add a second dinner each month.
If you are interested in helping with this ministry, please speak with Lynn Bruton or Karen DiPaolo. I believe it is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come to know our neighbors and to show off our wonderful church!
Sunday School will be back in session starting Jan 7th at 11am.
The students did a wonderful pageant for the Gospel lesson Christmas Eve. There were 13 children participating. A special thank you to Sophia for reading the lesson and for Lynn Bruton for helping with costumes and helping Lynsi get the children down the aisle when they were supposed to. Also thank you to Bill Smith for working with the students on the musical portions of the program.
Please check out the pictures on the bulletin board outside Father Erb Hall/Sunday School. Thanks to Billie Campanile for taking them!
Notice to all Committee and Ministry Leaders
The Annual Meeting will be scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018
Your reports should be turned in the either Gail Rzepka (email@example.com)or John Elliott (firstname.lastname@example.org) via hard copy or electronic media by Sunday, January 21, 2018. We would like to have printed copies of the Annual Meeting Report available to members of both the 7:30 a.m. and the 11:00 a.m. congregations at services on Sunday, Jan. 28th.
Thanks, for complying in this matter
Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist