Epiphany 2021

January 6 is Epiphany. In the Western Churches, this celebrates the Magi giving gifts, while in the Eastern Church it is more of a memorial of the Baptism of Christ. I am always a little conflicted by seasons. I was a member of a liturgical (Presbyterian)church for a season, but now I am not. Yet there is still a cycle of the year. There is planning. And there are prayers needed. Those who say that they don't follow seasons find it difficult, for our society does, perhaps driven from the Christmas sale to Valentines to Mother's Day to Black Friday. This has made me treasure the quieter times in the church calendar, which most places neglect. This is one, where re note that the church is for all nations, even the antipodes.

COLLECT ONE
O God,
who by the leading of a star
didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles;
Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith,
may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Book of Common Prayer
City Alight, Sydney

60 Arise, shine, for your light has come
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
4 Lift up your eyes all round, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,[a]
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-6

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew 2:1-12

3 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is[a] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Ephesians 3:1-12

Those who we thought were of Christ, as nations, all too often have fallen into apostasy. The gospel is no longer new, it is no longer powerful. The belief taught is that this is a closed universe[1], the clock maker was blind, and long gone. But it is a lie. The only salvation is through Christ, and the only way for our nations to be saved is through him.

And the ancient Gentiles will stand up against those who think themselves wise, without superstition, season or time,[2] because they did not follow beauty, truth, or honour. Those stars lead to Christ, and to him we shall bow.

  1. Yes, I'm being sarcastic about Richard Dawkins, who write the Blind Clock Maker. The woke damn him because he has some sense of the scientific method.
  2. To the woke it is always year zero, or linear time is oppressive. never expect coherence, let alone knowledge, from these modern Jacobins