Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Fellow Light-Bearers of the Light of Christ into a dark world,
Every year, as we travel through history, the darkness of the unbelieving world grows thicker. False prophets and false christs and violence and wickedness abound. The overt debauchery and depravity is broadcast on TV and social media. But the real issue is that these all flow from the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh. Where is light and life and righteousness to be found?
“Sages, leave your contemplations, Brighter visions beam afar; Seek the great Desire of nations, Ye have seen His natal star. Come and worship, come and worship; Worship Christ, the newborn King!” LSB 367 v. 3
Epiphany is indeed a celebration for Gentiles like us. The Magi or Wise Men were Gentiles from the east. They followed a star they had seen in the sky and came to worship the One who is the Light for all the nations. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts for Jesus who is a king, priest and prophet.
We are in the Epiphany season from Sunday January 6, the Epiphany of Our Lord, until Sunday March 3, the Transfiguration of Our Lord. There are four key events in the life of Christ during the Epiphany season:
First is the actual Epiphany of the star that brings the Magi to Jesus. They exult in the glorious Light of the Christ, and bow down and worship him. (January 6)
Second is the Baptism of our Lord, where the voice of the Father speaks forth from the clouds in the sky and announces, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!” (January 13)
Third is the first Miracle of our Lord, when Jesus shows his glory to his disciples by changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana. (January 20)
Fourth is the Transfiguration of our Lord, where on the high mountain Jesus shines forth in brilliant light from the cloud of God’s presence. There Moses and Elijah (the Old Testament) and Peter, James and John (the New Testament) hear the Father say, “This is my Beloved Son, Listen to Him!” (March 3)
These four events are some of the most important manifestations of Jesus’ glory shining through his human nature!
Also this month, we consider the God-given gift and sanctity of human life. God created human life from conception in our mother’s womb and sustains us till the day of our death. Christians must stand up in defense of God’s gift of life and speak out against abortion, infanticide, mercy-killing and euthanasia, genocide and suicide. Instead, we offer mercy and love for those in hurt and in need. (January 20)
“All creation, join in praising, God the Father, Spirit, Son; Evermore your voices raising, To the eternal Three in One. Come and worship, come and worship; Worship Christ, the newborn King!” LSB 367 v. 5
In the Light of the world – Jesus,
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar David Keating
With the end of the Christmas season comes Epiphany. While the time of Advent is the Church’s time of waiting, we can consider Epiphany to be the opposite. Epiphany is that time in the Church’s calendar where Christians can revel in and celebrate the fact that Christ has come to all people; to all tribes and nations, no matter where they come from.
We have all had a moment of great revelation. Perhaps you might describe it as a “Eureka!” moment. This often comes in small ways like when we find our car keys after fearing that they have been lost forever. However, we also see this in big ways. The eureka moment might come in the form of recognizing an error in the way we were approaching a problem. It might come in the form of seeing that our closest friends and loved ones were in front of our noses the entire time we were looking for help and compassion.
Epiphany is the Church’s “eureka” moment. It is that time when Jesus is revealed, not just to the Jews, but also to us Gentiles as well. The revelation of Jesus to the world at Epiphany reminds us that the thing we desire most: salvation from the problems we face, is right in front of us. It is found in the child Jesus who has just arrived to us at Christmas time.
Vicar David Keating