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The blog—informal opinions and chat about the parish

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Epiphany Sunday

Probably well-known to the "Cradle Episcopalians," this funny word, from the Greek, refers to Jesus becoming known to the Gentiles. That's why we move the porcelain camels and wise men into the Nativity scene tomorrow. (Though Herod's strategy with the Slaughter of the Innocents was to kill all the boys under three years old, so Jesus probably wasn't an infant when the Wise Men showed up.)

Tomorrow's Scriptures are Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12, and Psalm 72:1-7,10-14. The Isaiah passage is particularly dear to those who love Handel's Messiah,  and the Psalm is very royal indeed (probably one of the things that got Herod so wound up), and the Wise Men—who might have had some experience with devious rulers—showed their wisdom by obeying the dream rather than the jealous king. Great drama. We don't usually see the blood-thirsty king in the children's Christmas pageants.

I'm fascinated by Paul though. Being a Roman prisoner was no picnic, and he calls himself "the very least of all the saints" (we probably don't know the half of the scorn he harvested from both Jewish and Gentile Christians as well as from non-Christian Jews and Gentiles for trying to bridge the gap), yet he seems to see nothing except "the boundless riches of Christ."

I often read the daily newspapers (though my doctor says that's bad for my health), and I get very stirred up about the stock market, the Justice Department, and the battles between the Democrats and the Republicans. I have a strong suspicion that Paul would say, "What?? Haven't you read Isaiah? What about that Psalm?"

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