Epiphany Reflections

Discussion in 'Feasts, Fasts, and Church Calendar' started by Jeff F, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    This is a day/season that I truly celebrate, not that the others are merely perfunctory, but this season is a time for reflection on times past..........without Christ. Although raised by godly parents and in church, my heart was miles away from God and His teachings for many years, but I soon found I could not escape His presence. As I searched, ran, and wrestled with God, I quickly discovered that my own philosophies would soon lead to a dark and lonely dead end, but at the end of that road was Jesus. He had come in the flesh to experience and teach humanity the truths of heaven, leaving behind (temporarily) His position and glory, all to establish a close relationship with his children. Today as I depart for church, I know He is again waiting to share His word and sacrament with little old me! :think:

    BTW, a merry Christmas to our Eastern Orthodox family on the Julian calender!
    Jeff+
     
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  2. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Per the thread's owner, thread is moved to the Church and Community section.
     
  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Jeff F., Epiphany is the true Christmas in my opinion.

    What I love most about this feast day is that, upon Christ's appearing to all the nations of the world (the Baptism in the Jordan being the ancient focus of Epiphany), the GOD lays down the warlike title of "Lord of Hosts", and now calls Himself the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ", or the "God of Peace", or the Father of "My Beloved Son" - of whom we are made members, and so His children, and so inheritors of His Kingdom. War, armour, terror, and fear have had their time - now is the era where we know God firstly as Father, Peace, Love, and Mercy, because of the events of this day of rejoicing!

    I was just remarking to the Anglican bishop who received me on Sunday, that there were probably zero people of Jewish ancestry in church that day - so the very solemnity we were celebrating was the cause of our being Christian!


    Epiphany is the very heart of Christianity, before Easter.
     
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  4. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    in germany it is thebdsy of the 3 holy kings
     
  5. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    the day of …
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Epiphany

    from Helena by Evelyn Waugh

    Everyone in Jerusalem remarked on Helena’s vigour. The old lady was positively indefatigable, they all said. But in truth, she was very weary. Winter set in. The convent was exposed, damp and chill. It was not thus, in Dalmatia, that she had planned her old age. She seemed to have come to the end of her questions. No one was helpful. No one was hopeful. At Christmas, she had not the strength to ride out with the procession to Bethlehem. She went to communion in the convent chapel and that day allowed the nuns to make a fuss of her, spending the feast crouched over a wood fire which they lit for her in her room.

    But by Twelfth Night she rallied and on the eve set out by litter along the five rough miles to the shrine of the Nativity. There was no throng of pilgrims. [Bishop] Macarius and his people kept Epiphany in their own church. Only the little community of Bethlehem greeted her and led her to the room they had prepared. She rested there dozing until an hour before dawn when they called her and led her out under the stars, then down onto the stable cave, where they made a place for her on the women’s side of the small, packed congregation.

    The low vault was full of lamps and the air was close and still. Silver bells announced the coming of the three vested, bearded monks, who prostrated themselves before the altar. So the long liturgy began.

    Helena knew little Greek and her thoughts were not in the words nor anywhere in the immediate scene. She forgot even her quest and was dead to everything except the swaddled child long ago and those three royal sages who had come from so far to adore him.

    “This is my day, she thought, “and these are my kind.”

    Perhaps she apprehended that her fame, like theirs, would live in one historic act of devotion; that she too had emerged from a kind of ‘ουτοπία’ [Utopia] or nameless realm and would vanish like them in the sinking nursery fire-light among the picture-books and the day’s toys.

    “Like me,” she said to them, “you were late in coming. The shepherds were here long before; even the cattle. They had joined the chorus of angels before you were on your way. For you, the primordial discipline of the heavens was relaxed and a new defiant light blazed among the disconcerted stars.

    “How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculations, where the shepherds had run barefoot! How odd you looked on the road, attended by what outlandish liveries, laden with such preposterous gifts!

    “You came at length to the final stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you. What did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod. Deadly exchange of compliments in which there began that unended war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent!

    “Yet you came and were not turned away. You too found room at the manger. Your gifts were not needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love. In that new order of charity that had just come to life there was room for you too. You were not lower in the eyes of the holy family than the ox or the ass.

    “You are my especial patrons,” said Helena, “and patrons of all late-comers, of all who have had a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all who through politeness make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talents.

    “Dear cousins, pray for me,” said Helena, “and for my poor overloaded son [the Emperor Constantine himself, who was still unbaptized]. May he, too, before the end find kneeling space in the straw. Pray for the great, lest they perish utterly. And pray for Lactantius and Marcias and the young poets of Trèves and for the souls of my wild, blind ancestors; for their sly foe Odysseus and for the great Longinus.

    “For His sake who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not be quite forgotten at the Throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.”
     
  7. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    what about the 3 holy kings?
     
  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The Bible calls them 'wise men from the East'.
    The tradition of numbering them as three is a reflection of the number of gifts they brought.
    Much of the significance of the account relates to what the gifts point to, gold to declare the sovereignty of Jesus (not the wise folk), Incense to proclaim the Divinity of Jesus (not the wise folk) and myrrh foreshadowing the death of Jesus (not the wise folk) that this birth heralds.

    Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar are the names to survive from extra-biblical traditions. The suggestion of the East seems to imply they came from Persia (Iran), or perhaps India, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. Kandahar is argued as a city of origin for one of them at least, which would add strength to Afghanistan, though in terms of distance and travel Iran may be easier.

    For me to star holds a unique significance and reminds me of the passage in John 4 where Jesus is declared the Saviour of the Cosmos.

    I still think Evelyn Waugh has captured a great depth in the passage I quoted above.
     
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  9. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    yes, Luther called them …. wise men of the East.

    nunmbers and names vary in different languages