Come into an unforgettable Epiphany sermon

Awesome

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources is “a gift to the wider Church from the South Yarra Community Baptist Church in Melbourne, Australia.” It is one of my favorite places on the net. As the sun rises on this Feast of the Epiphany I invite you to come into the sermon shared by Pastor Nathan Nettleton on 6 January 2005—just 11 days after the worst tsunami in history ended more than 230,000 lives and displaced almost 2 million people in 15 countries. The South Asia Tsunami of December 26, 2004 | Images from the tsunami.

Invitation to the sermon: An Epiphany Tsunami. Here’s how it begins:

Epiphany
An appearance
A revelation
Deep truth suddenly becomes visible
The lights go on

Tsunami
A massive wave
A wave of destruction
An all-powerful surge of chaos and death
But perhaps too, an event where truth suddenly becomes visible
Perhaps too, this can bring light to bear

Epiphany
An appearance
A revelation
A star rises in the West
Who’d even notice
A million stars come out every night
throwing their light in all directions
But they notice these things, those magi
those mystics from the East
from Iraq
To them it’s a sign
A revelation
The lights go on
Deep truth beckons them from the western sky
The plan of mystery hidden for ages in God is emerging
The chosen one is born
The one for whom all the world has been longing
The one before whom the rulers of the earth will bow
The light beckons from the western sky
A journey begins

Tsunami
A wave of power and death
Totally unexpected
Spreading out
East and West, North and South
Awesome, unstoppable, all-conquering
One before whom all bow
or flee
or fall
And after whom all are changed
all are weeping
all are grieving

Finish reading this sermon. YES, it is well worth reading on this Feast of the Epiphany.

Though these words of blessing were composed by Nathan I pray them for you, asking God to bless you, dear reader:

Go now, seek out the Christ wherever he may be found,
and share the good news with all who bear him no ill will.
Bring light to those in thick darkness,
a voice to those no one speaks for,
and hope to those no one cares for.

And may God make you a sharer in the promised light.
May Christ Jesus fill you with his sense of what is right.
And may the Holy Spirit be to you like rain
that gives life to the fertile earth.

A blessing for the Feast of the Epiphany on Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources

More importantly, what does it mean to you?

Youths dressed as the three Kings greet Pope Benedict XVI as celebrates the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God mass and the 45th World Day of Peace on Jan. 1, 2012 at the Vatican basilica.

Epiphany. Well, what does it mean to you? What’s the big deal about Epiphany? Decide for yourself.

Here is the “official” description of Epiphany shared by our Episcopal Church in its book Holy Women, Holy Men:

The name “Epiphany” is derived from a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “appearing.” Anglican Prayer Books interpret the word with an alternative title, “The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” The last phrase, of course, is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.

A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt. The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus’ first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee—all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.

The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three-fold emphasis is still prominent. In the West, however, including Anglican Churches, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events. Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the 1979 Prayer Book, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of the Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after the Epiphany in all three years, and by providing the story of the Miracle at Cana as the Gospel for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany in Year C.  Page 158

Here is another write up that we can discuss in the Sunday Morning Forum. As you will see, I/we might dispute some of what is written here:

Epiphany — which is variously known as Theophany, Three Kings Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes — is a Christian celebration of the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world. This is embodied most in the story of three wise men visiting a newborn Jesus with gifts, found in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. Read the article and view more images of Epiphany.

I encourage you to view the pictures that accompany the article (above) about Epiphany. There is no disputing that the Feast is observed and celebrated these thousand of years later in ways to capture the imagination and the heart.