Follow that Star!

January 6, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
The Feast of the Epiphany
Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

(Gospel Text provided below)
img_0008-2I am, what is often referred to in church-circles, a cradle-Episcopalian, which means I’ve spent my whole life connected to the liturgical cycle of this particular Christian denomination. Through the decades of my life, except for the “new” Prayer Book, adopted when I was young, and the shift from purple to blue as the color for Advent, things haven’t changed very much.

I remember, as a child, looking forward to The Epiphany service with great anticipation. I loved astronomy, so the emphasis on the bright star and the three wise men, sometimes called astronomers, surely contributed to my love for this day. And the atmosphere at church was very different from our usual Sunday morning worship.

On Sundays, the sanctuary was full of light and activity. By contrast, Epiphany usually fell in the middle of the week, and was always an evening service. We’d enter a dimly lit Nave, the darkness amplified by wintery skies, and muted stained-glass windows. We held individual candles – the ones with those little cardboard circles around them, intended to keep the wax from dripping on our hands. The goal – don’t catch anything on fire, especially your sister’s hair.sjd-epiphany

The procession began with the familiar hymn

We Three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts, we traverse afar…

Read the rest of this entry »

Wonder Leads the Way

January 6, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
The Feast of the Epiphany 
Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

Tonight’s gospel reading is the familiar story of the three wise men from the East. They’ve seen a distant star and embark on a long journey to pay homage to a newborn messiah.

Christmas Pageants and Nativity Scenes include these three characters alongside the shepherds, donkeys, sheep, Mary and Joseph as they all surround Baby-Jesus in the manger. outdoor-lighted-nativity-scene-4-nativity-scene-5201-x-1654The problem is, in Matthew’s gospel there is no manger scene – no census; no long journey to Bethlehem; no “no vacancy” inns – there’s no stable at all. That’s all in Luke’s gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

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