January 8, 2017
Epiphany/The Baptism of our Lord

On this day we look to three revelations of Jesus as the Christ.

The King of all the World is Revealed to the Magi
Matthew 2:1-11

 Prayer
O God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star.  Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives, and bring us at last to the full version of your glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Visit of the Magi
We join the Wise Men.  The Magi.  Those Stargazing Astologers.  Whatever you call them, we join them as they come from afar.  They leave their home of comfort and familiarity and they journey far to see this thing that the Lord has done, to behold this gift that the Creator of All things has sent, to pledge allegiance to the king of kings, to embrace the light and the hope of the world.

How far have you come to see the Savior?  What treacherous terrain have you ventured through?  What challenges have you overcome to kneel before the manger and present an offering to the one who is making an offering of himself for us?  Each of us has had different journeys to the same destination.  What has your journey taken you through?  Self-doubt.  Fear.  Loss of hope.  Addiction.  Illness.  Abandonment.  Rejection.  Lack of Purpose.  Search for Meaning.  Search for Identity.  All the time looking to the God-given star to guide us.

And here we kneel.  Before the one who is filled with promise.  A baby who has yet to prove himself, yet is wrapped up in all the hope and faith that he deserves because of from whom and from where he comes.

Here we kneel knowing that, whatever the journey, it was worth it, it has changed us, he – that baby – is changing us.  And that us includes all of us.  Wherever the journey started, whatever the route, we have all ended kneeling before one who reaches out to all in love, in compassion, in mercy, in welcome.

And as we kneel we lay before the giver of life our most precious gift – ourselves:  our life more valued by God than gold, our prayers and praise more desired than incense, our service to others for the healing of the world more precious than richest myrrh.

We join the wise men, come from afar, welcomed in the kingdom of the new born king.  O come, let us adore him.

The New Creation is Revealed in the Water made Wine
John 2:1-11

 Prayer
Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people.  Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him; Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Wedding at Cana
We join the guests at the wedding.  Eager to celebrate the goodness of life.  Overjoyed to share in the banquet of delight.  Gathered to bless the love that comes from above and binds us together as one.

We join the guests who sing and dance, for on this day their minds are not dwelling on the reality of occupation, they are not hopeless at the strength of their enemies, they are not questioning whether God has forsaken them.  They have gathered in the name of love, to bless love, to share love, to give thanks for love.

We join the guests at the wedding who did not know how or even that the Lord was working in their midst.  Their joy never skipped a beat.  Their dancing never paused.  Their feasting never stopped.  There was a great need and the Lord provided.  And the party continued.  Our party continues.  The Lord is present among us.  Turning the simple into the valued.  Turning bread and wine into his presence.  Turning sinners into saints.  Turning death into life.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.  The works of the Lord are mysterious.  We do not see, we cannot know.  But the works of the Lord are around us and in us, and so our celebration never ceases.  Our hope never dies.  Our life knows no end.

We join the guest at the wedding.  As Jesus comes to us in a love that will never run dry.

The Christ is Revealed in the Waters of Baptism
Matthew 3:13-17

Prayer:
O God our Father, at the baptism of Jesus you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful to their calling to be your daughters and sons, and empower us all with your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

 Jesus is Baptized by John
We join Jesus in his baptism.  We stand in the waters that fulfill all righteousness.  We stand in the waters that cleanse all sins.  We stand in the waters that turn death into life.  We stand in the waters that turn children of dust into children of God.

We join Jesus in his baptism as the heavens open, the dove of the Holy Spirit descends and the voice of the Creator speaks out, announces, make proclamation for all to hear – this is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well please.  We join Jesus in hearing this word, in receiving this promise, in sharing this grace-filled gift.  Hear it said over you – “this is my son, this is my daughter, this is my child who identifies as neither, this is the one I love, this is the one I make my own in the waters of new birth.”

We join with Jesus in his coming up out of the waters to live a life reflecting the love of God.  A life of proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom for the sake of the world.  We join Jesus in his life of bringing light to the darkness, bringing healing to the broken, bringing dignity to the outcast, bringing joy to the sad hearted, and hope to the despairing, bringing compassion to the loveless, bringing community to the lonely.

We join Jesus in his baptism as he weaves us into his death-defeating life that knows no end, and we, in thanksgiving and by the power of the Holy Spirit, weave ourselves into his world-transforming life, bringing the kingdom of God into which we are reborn through the water and the word.

The Rev. Mark Erson,
Pastor

 

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