Epiphany 2021

The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphaneia or theophaneia, meaning “appearance” or “manifestation.” After the celebration of Christmas, Epiphany is the time of the Christian year when we wonder at the revelation of God to the world in Jesus Christ. The Feast of Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6, symbolizes the fact that “the man born to be king” will rule not by force but by love, reigning not from a throne but from a cross. God for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for the one who was to die: the gifts of the wise men foretell that he will be the one true king, perfect high priest, and supreme savior. The unfolding season of Epiphany honors the public life and witness of Jesus, including his baptism in the Jordan River, his calling of the disciples, and his miracles. Ultimately, Epiphany is the season of compassionate encounter.

–Michael Ford ed., Eternal Seasons: A Liturgical Journey with Henri J.M. Nouwen, (2004: Soren Books, Notre Dame, Indiana), p. 61.

1/3 Epiphany Sunday

As foreign astrologers who attempted to foretell the future by reading the stars, the Magi find their wisdom redirected to the unveiling of the significance of the present, and God’s presence, in the manger. Our message, Discovering the Present, will come from Matthew 2:2-12.

1/10 Baptism of The Lord

There are no birth stories in the Gospel of Mark-no shepherds or innkeepers, no angels or mangers.  In his no holds barred, bare-knuckled approach, Mark’s opening scene dramatically portrays a water-soaked Jesus standing in the river against the backdrop of a ripped-open sky.  Perhaps, like Mark and his gospel and Jesus in the Jordan, we too, should dive right in… (Mark 1:4-11).

1/17 Second Sunday after Epiphany

As Barbara Brown Taylor explains so eloquently in her book, When God is Silent, prayer should be less “Lord, hear our prayers,” and more, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Our message, Tuning In, will come from 1 Samuel 3:1-20.

1/24 Third Sunday after Epiphany

Having run in the opposite direction when God first asked him to go to Nineveh, Jonah seems to have achieved the single greatest preaching result in history, leading the Assyrian king and all the Ninevites offering repentance.  So, why is Jonah so upset? Our message, Something Smells Fishy, will come from Jonah 3:1-5, 10.

1/31 Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Mark, more than any other Gospel writer, emphasizes Jesus’ miraculous power to heal and to exorcise.  Of the eighteen miracles recorded in Mark, thirteen have to do with healing.  Of these thirteen healing miracles, four are exorcisms.  The text says those who heard his teaching and witnessed Jesus’ first exorcism were “astounded” and “amazed.”  Given that we view the world through skeptical, post-modern lenses, how does Jesus’ authority and teaching continue to astound and amaze us? Our message, Astounded & Amazed, will come from Mark 1:21-28.

2/7 Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement once commented: “better to deliver aid than to send it.”  How might Peter’s mother-in-law offer us a paradigm for mission and ministry?  Our message, In-laws & Outlaws, will come from Mark 1:29-39.

2/14 Transfiguration Sunday

Having crossed the Jordan, Elisha entreated Elijah to grant him a double portion of the prophet’s spirit.  In response, Elijah assured him that it would be granted if he were courageous enough to witness his mentor’s departure. Our message, A Test of Courage, will come from 2 Kings 2:1-12.