Long before it became associated with a shameful blot on our national character, January 6 was (and still is) the day of Epiphany. It’s the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas, and it signals the start of a new season of the church year. Epiphany, which means realization or revelation, is symbolized by the coming of the magi to pay homage to the Christ child. Just as a star leads the wise men on their journey, Epiphany is all about light—the light that John declares has come into the world with the coming of Christ. For the next several weeks (until Ash Wednesday, February 22, when we enter the season of Lent) we will consider what it means to walk in the light of Christ.
One of the ways we walk in the light is to follow the example of Jesus by engaging in the rite of baptism. Many of us were baptized as infants, so we have no genuine recollection of our actual baptism, but this Sunday, when we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, we will have the opportunity to renew our baptismal vows by symbolically marking our foreheads with the sign of the cross with water from the baptismal font. We will be combining our commemoration of the coming of the magi with our celebration of baptism, both of which are concerned with the coming of the light.
Another way we walk in the light is through study. It is important to keep our minds and spirits sharp, and one of the best ways to do so is to engage in group study. Proverbs 27:17 offers this nugget of wisdom: “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.” Starting this Sunday, we will offer wit-sharpening time at 9 am, as we read and discuss my book, Our Father Who Aren’t in Heaven: Subversive Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer (Wipf and Stock, 2015). I hope you can join us for this six-week exploration of the prayer that sits at the heart of the Christian faith. We will meet in person in the middle classroom, and we will also offer a Zoom option: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86891211777?pwd=RTZyVlB1cmNDOHRuUi80MnRHQkFKUT09
I look forward to this adult study time with you. If you already have the book, please read the introductory chapter. If you don’t have it yet, no worries—you can get a copy on Sunday, or else buy a copy on Amazon (paperback or Kindle versions are available, but the paperback is cheaper if you get it from me). The discussion will begin promptly at 9:00 and will run for approximately 50 minutes. I look forward to seeing you there!
Grace and peace,