Tomorrow, January 6, is the day of Epiphany. Epiphany means, according to Webster’s online dictionary, “a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.”
So, what is the “something” revealed to us? God. What is the essential nature of God? That God is for all people. The two words to emphasize in that last sentence are “FOR” and “ALL.” I’ll talk about that a bit in my sermon on Sunday.
The Epiphany of our Lord usually emphasizes three events in Christ’s life: (1) the coming of the Magi to visit Jesus, (2) Christ’s Baptism by John, and (3) Jesus’ “first miracle” – turning water into wine at a wedding. Each of these help us perceive the essential nature of Jesus (and, thus, God). At (and after) Epiphany, we find ourselves saying, “Oh, I see! So, that’s what God is really like. Wow!”
I hope that, over the coming weeks, you will meditate on these stories and wonder at the fact that God is FOR (that is, God loves, that God does good for) ALL people.
May the grace, mercy, and peace of God be with you all!
Our world seems bent on war, violence, power, creating “us” and “them” sets, etc. One core message of Christmas and Epiphany is PEACE. Let us pray for peace, for our enemies (i.e. all people), and for others who face trials in these days:
Let us pray:
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn
but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the
strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that
all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of
Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and
glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the
world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among
them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they
may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God our Father, you see your children growing up in an
unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways
give more life than the ways of the world, and that following
you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to
take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance
for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal
graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all
their care on you, they may know the consolation of your
love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
*** THIS Sunday, January 7 ***
We will continue the feasting season with an Epiphany Potluck & Pig Roast (we’ll roast vegetables, too) immediately following the worship service.
Wednesday Dinner – January 10
Slow Cooker Ziti with vegetarian options
Dessert & Drinks
Saturday, January 13
Join us in Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Bob & Jackie Rundio
8044 E. Hermosa Vista Dr., Mesa 85207 RSVP to Shar – 480-560-7255 or email@example.com
Sunday, January 14
The Red Cross will have a mobile donating unit at our church from 9:00 am till 2:00 pm. You are encouraged to stay after church and donate some blood. For more information see the Facebook Event or reserve your time at redcrossblood.org
::Youth Winter Retreat::
Saturday. January 13 – Monday, January 15
Emmanuel Pines Campgrounds, Prescott, Az.
Theme – Journey
Cost – $100
Will leave church at 8 am on Saturday and return by 2 pm on Monday.
See Pastor Corey for more details.
The funeral service for Steve St. Clair will be on
Wednesday, January 17, 5:00 PM
Following the funeral, we will gather for a reception and dinner.
Why We Do What We Do in Worship
I have been making use of icons in worship and in these emails. A friend of mine (and fellow Nazarene pastor), Brent Neely, has begun a blog series on iconography. I encourage you to read his first installment, this blog post about an icon called Christ the Redeemer. It is timely and helps give us a window into hope during troubling times.
Here is the sermon from last week: “Christmas is for YOU”
See all the sermons we’ve recorded at our page on Vimeo.
It is important to realize that the sermon is not the most important part of our worship gatherings. The whole thing works together as one unit. We are gathered, hear the word, pray prayers, come to the table, and are sent back out.
Join us for worship – Sunday mornings at 10:30
2340 N. Hayden Rd.
Online giving is available at cash.me/$snaz