Thursday, January 5, 2017
From Mother Vicki
O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright;
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light!”
Hymn 128, words by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1820-1891)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Friday, 6 January, is the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, completing the twelve days of our Christmas Celebration. An epiphany is a revelation or a sudden knowing or understanding of the meaning of some event. In the Christian liturgical calendar, we celebrate that moment when the magi, or wise men from the east, knew to follow a new astronomical event, a bright star that led them to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus where they offered gifts of monetary value as well as profound symbolism. The gold they gave to the Christ child was appropriate for a king, the frankincense for a priest, and myrrh, used in embalming, prefigured Christ’s suffering and death on a cross. The wise men remind us that Jesus was not just to be a local Jewish prophet, but a savior for the entire world, for all nations and all peoples.
The Season of Epiphany also begins this Sunday with a celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord, that moment when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist: “And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:16-17)
During this season of Epiphany, which continues throughout all of January and February, we celebrate the many revelations or manifestations of God’s Word made flesh in the Incarnation of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For each of us, this epiphany may have happened at a different time in our lives. Sharing these stories of God’s surprising immanence is a wonderful way to honor Jesus as Messiah, the light of the world.
We will celebrate Epiphany a bit early this year at this Wednesday’s 12:05 p.m. Service of Holy Eucharist and Healing in the Lady Chapel. Please join us for this wonderful weekday Mass, followed by a light lunch. In addition, Bible Class will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Library. We study the scriptures that will be read on the following Sunday. Please join us!
Looking ahead, please mark Sunday, February 26, the Last Sunday in Epiphany, in your calendars. This will be an important day for Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Getty Square as we gather for our Annual Meeting at 11:30 a.m. and elect new Vestry members, review the past year and begin to look ahead to what God is calling us to do and be this year.
If you have been using envelopes, or giving to the church by check or PayPal deposit, we have a record of your donations and will be sending you a statement of your giving for 2016 in the next couple of weeks. Please let us know if there are any corrections to be made since this is the form that you may use for your 2016 charitable donations in your tax return. It is not too late to make a pledge for 2017! The names of everyone who pledges for 2017 will be listed in our 2016 Annual Report. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to Saint John’s Church.
May God fill us with wonder and light in this New Year and open our eyes to new revelations!
Epiphany blessings and love,
The Rev. Dr. Victoria R. Sirota