The Meaning of Epiphany for Us
The Feast and Season of Epiphany is intrinsically connected with the Christmas Feast of the Incarnation. The word EPIPHANY is Greek in origin and means MANIFESTATION or APPEARANCE.
The Gospels appointed for the Sundays of Epiphanytide all maintain the theme of “manifestation” in one way or another. In last Sunday’s Epiphany I Gospel, Jesus, as a young boy, reveals Himself as God's Son. This Sunday we read of His Baptism and God’s declaration that Jesus is His beloved Son. We will also hear of the wedding feast miracle at Cana which manifested Jesus as the One to bring a new marriage bond between God and His people. And we will hear how Jesus manifests Himself as the One who heals, and the One who welcomes the Gentiles into the kingdom of God. We will also see Jesus revealed as a wise teacher. And lastly we will see Jesus revealed as the “Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” The ultimate manifestation of God Incarnate remains a mystery to us, but the Gospel promise is that He will indeed make Himself visible to all the world.
So with Christmas we recognize the Son of God entering into the World of Man. But with the Epiphany we are asked to accept the signs and revelations, just as the Wise Men did by following a star, and just as the shepherds did by heeding an Angel, that Jesus is more than the Jewish Messiah… that He is the King and Savior of the entire world.
Symbolism is important in the Christmas and Epiphany stories. Just as symbolism is important to us. A quick glance around our church reveals how God uses symbolism to convey His message to us. When the fully-grown Jesus began his ministry, He and his Apostles used the power of speech to preach the Truth of His Word. But when Jesus was just a babe in swaddling clothes, laying silent in a manger, the power of voice was not used, but rather the power of symbol in the form of a star. That silent testimony shining in the heavens was enough for the Wise Men to accept that something wonderful and Divine was being manifested.
St. Leo the Great expresses this use of symbol at the Epiphany and beyond in a wonderful passage:
“All things which He had made bore witness that their maker had come. Let me reckon them after the manner of men. The heavens knew that he was God, and sent a star to shine where he lay. The sea knew it, and bore him up when he walked upon it. The earth knew it, and quaked when he died. The sun knew it, and was darkened. The rocks and walls knew it, and were rent at the hour of his death. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that were in it.”
With St. Leo’s words we are reminded that there are signs and wonders expressing the significance of the Incarnation all around us. And yet, mankind, in it’s hard-hearted sinful nature, still refuses to see that truth before itself.
It was Thomas Aquinas who summed up this state of affairs:
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
As noted above the Wise Men had faith. These men from the East accepted that the Incarnation was God’s gift of light to the entire word; the signal that this small, helpless child born of a virgin in the humblest of surroundings, is our King of Kings, our Messiah and Savior. These men understood this truth through faith in a star. These wise men brought this child savior “costly gifts” as a sign of gratitude and respect befitting a King. The good news is that God does not expect the same from us. Instead of giving gifts, we simply have to accept into our hearts the light from “the star of thy [his] righteousness.”
How do we do this? Through faith, prayer and right understanding of scriptures, we accept and declare what is obvious to those in the Light of Epiphany, but are unknown to those in darkness:
Let our worthy offering be the spread of these truths to those who need to hear them.
--Fr. Deacon Chris
All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee
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Sunday Services: 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing
Saturday January 21, 8:30 AM, Men's Group in the undercroft (that means basement) with breakfast by Chef Claude Crump and Bible Study with Bob Boyd. Start the year off right with food, fellowship and Bible study with other men of the parish.
Next Vestry Meeting – Monday, January 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the church undercroft.
Annual Parish Meeting – Sunday, January 29, 2023 -- following a combined 10:00 a.m. service. If you will not be able to attend this meeting, it is very important that you fill out a proxy form, copies of which may be found on the narthex table and on top of a cabinet in the undercroft. If you are a communicant member of the parish, you can also respond to this email and indicate that you are giving your proxy for the annual meeting to the Rector, the Senior Warden or another parish member but please specify whom.
Monday, January 30, 12 noon, Feast of Blessed Charles Stuart, King & Martyr
Donations to the Food Bank and Marih Center are greatly needed. Across the country, crisis pregnancy centers have been attacked or vandalized. The needs are great. Please help with either a goods donation or a monetary donation. You can give through the donation button in this newsletter and use the drop down menu to choose "Charity & Mercy." Thank you.
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
Baby wipes* (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1*, 2, 3*, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment
(Bold and * are a critical need.)
Clothing for boys and girls (0-6 months)
Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T
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St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
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Alexandria, VA 22301-1625