Pastor's Page‎ > ‎

Epiphany in January

posted Dec 30, 2018, 2:55 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Epiphany means manifestation. This festival comes after Christmas and following the "Twelve Days of Christmas" to celebrate the manifestation of Christ to the world as Lord. Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are the first three events in the church year to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ, the center of the faith of the Church.

In its biblical definition, the word manifestation is closer to the word revelation.  However, the word revelation can be understood in a general sense.

According to the Psalmist, God reveals God’s self in God’s creation: "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is humankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

Although God reveals himself in and through the wonders of God’s creation, this general revelation does not provide humankind with a personal relationship with God, the Creator.

A veil of the original sin prevents humans to personally know God and to enjoy a relationship that only God can provide when we have faith in his Son Jesus Christ.

Fortunately God, who is love, did not want to leave the creatures God had made in God’s image away from God’s presence forever. "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of children." (Galatians 4.4).

When the time, Kairos, (Gods time) came to fulfill the promise according to the plan of God, the Word became flesh like us (Mark 1:15).

The Word of God came to rescue us all, we who couldn't rescue ourselves from the bondage of sin: Jews and Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor, privileged and marginalized. 

This is the Good News!  This is the joy and peace God brings to our broken world, to all generations of humankind. God reveals and manifests himself in a new, personal and redemptive relationship with sinners!

In the early centuries AD, and before the celebration of Christmas, Epiphany was a celebration of both the birth and the baptism of Jesus. In some Christian traditions, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, for instance, the celebration of Epiphany is still associated with the celebration of the baptism of Jesus, as recognition of God’s manifestation to humanity as the Son of God. (Mark 1:9-11) This I have seen in my travels to Israel this last January 10-19th 2018.

To recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God is to recognize Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:36) and as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 9:16).

In fact, to celebrate Epiphany should remind us of our own baptism, the initiation we have received to publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ, with his death and resurrection.

With God’s Blessings to your understanding,

Pastor Jim

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Christmas offers us the gift of entering into this New Year with the fresh reminder of God's presence with us and a renewed awareness of our call to be shaped by that awareness.

It takes intentional choices—the choice to pause, the choice to pray, the choice to worship, the choice to serve others—for us to allow ourselves to be shaped by Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Our U.N.Y. conference and all UMC conferences will be in intentional prayer seeking God's guidance for the year ahead and especially for the next two months for the Special Session of General Conference in February 23-26 2019.

I will be setting up a "prayer wheel" schedule and I ask you to sign up to pray for all of those in Special Session through the four days in 1/2 hour increments. 

I also plan on being in church here praying during those day time hours of conference.

All the Methodist conferences around the world will take part in intentional prayer together.

The aim of Praying Our Way Forward is "to ask and listen for God's leadership at this critical time in the life of our church and to encourage individuals to join the initiative by praying daily and fasting weekly for our church, mission, and future.”

As our denomination continues to disagree on human sexuality and especially the role of LGBTQA persons in the church, this prayer week invites us to recognize God's presence with us all even in the midst of disagreement and to listen for God's guidance on how to move forward with love.

I ask you to carve out time to be in prayer for our church from December 31 to January 6 this session of Epiphany in 2019, and throughout this time till Easter.

We have the opportunity to live with the awareness of God with us; we have the opportunity to testify to love.

Let us all pray as a faithful Christian in the name of Jesus Christ, opening ourselves and our denomination up to be shaped and reshaped by God's love that is real and alive for all people.

We trust that God is with us as we walk the path ahead.

God knows what is ahead for us here in Bowmansville, and in the world as Christians, put your prayers and faith in Him. As John Wesley said, “We are all working towards Christian Perfection in the name of the Lord thy God”.

Folks we are all a work in progress, in His name, Pray! Pastor Jim