This Sunday we will celebrate the Epiphany, the “showing forth” of Jesus represented by the visit of the Magi, told in the Gospel of Matthew.
Quick note for lectionary wonks: In the Episcopal Church, and at St. John’s, we follow the Revised Common Lectionary, a three year cycle of readings shared by several mainline denominations. If you look up the RCL lessons for this Sunday, you will just find the Epiphany lessons. That’s because Epiphany is one of those Holy Days that supplants the regular Sunday celebration. However, since we are having a separate Epiphany celebration in the evening, we will go ahead and use the lessons for the Second Sunday after Christmas for the morning services.
In the Epiphany Celebration at 7 p.m., we remember the visit of the Magi from the east, who came to honor this new light that had come into the world. They are a fascinating addition to the story of Jesus’ birth as they were non-Israelites and they were “star-gazers,” astrologers probably being the closest modern parallel. Not exactly what we would normally consider sources of truth for Israelites, or modern Christians! Even more shocking is that it is Matthew, the most “Jewish” of the Gospels, that tells us of these non-Israelite Magi.
But Matthew wants us to know that from the very beginning, Jesus comes for ALL people, not just those already “in.” So these outsiders, these pagan astrologers, and their critical role are celebrated each Epiphany!
This column appeared in the January 6, 2019 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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