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What is “Epiphany” About?

Following the Church Calendar is new to me in the last couple of years, and I'm certainly no expert, but sometimes the commentary from a fellow "student" may be helpful in addition to the instruction from the "masters." I have found the Church (or Liturgical) Calendar to be a wonderful way of ordering time not around my life– which is often hectic and erratic–but around Christ's life. The Church Calendar, begining at Advent, teaches us to not only order our time in a way that remembers and re-enacts Christ's life, but draws us into it to live it out. Being the "Church," after all, is about how Christ's Kingdom-announcing, Kingdom-arriving work continues in us, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

A prayerbook that has been helpful to my wife and I in our journey is a book, called "Seeking God's Face". It leads you in praying a psalm each day, reading a Scripture, spending time in "free prayer (what some may call "spontaneous prayer"), and praying a prayer based on a  historic confession or creed. To introduce Epiphany, Philip Reinders– the book's editor and "author"– writes:

"Epiphany begins on January 6 and is marked by several events and themes in the life of Jesus: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the wedding feast at Cana (the beginning of Jesus' ministry through signs and wonders). Each event unveils the fuller dimensions of the man we call Jesus. He is the worshiped King of kings, the dearly loved Son of God, and the miracle working Lord of the Feast…."

In Epiphany, we celebrate Jesus as He is gradually revealed in His earthly life, paying attention to three specific aspects: His Kingship (as the Magi affirm), His Sonship (which can be seen not only as a picture of His divnity, but also as His role as the representative of Israel– Israel was "God's Son"), and His Messiahship (the miracles were never party tricks, but signs of the Anointed One who had come, whose feast all would now be invited to attend.)

"There's also an unmistakable missional bent to Epiphany. Jesus, the light of the world, calls us to let our light shine before others (Matt. 5:14-16). Drawn by the light o his star, the Magi came and signaled the universal scope of Christ's mission [the Magi were Gentiles!], where the nations of the world come to worship the King of kings. Epiphany calls us to live God's mission, announcing the good news of Christ's arrival to every culture and to those who live across the street, bearing the light of Jesus to the nations and to those who share a home with us. We, the church, are sent out as the manifestation of Jesus to a watching world."

You see, Epiphany is not just a remembrance or a re-enactment; it's a reality we live into by the Holy Spirit's power. And it raises a wonderful question:

How can we– as the Church– shine the light of Christ in our world, revealing Him as the true King, the Son of God, and the awaited Messiah?

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