We have two expandable and contractible seasons (Epiphany and Pentecost season) in the church liturgical year based upon when Easter Sunday falls, being the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. If Easter is later, then, like this year, our Epiphany season is longer. We have intentionally made the worship space plainer by removing the candelabras and making the space fit a more ordinary or plain environment. The color is green.
Someone asked me on a Sunday, “What does Epiphany mean?” So, I figured if one person didn’t know, then there would be many others who wouldn’t know either. The word Epiphany comes down to two basic understandings of manifest and reveal. The emphasis is on how God’s glory is manifested or revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. The great Epiphany story from Matthew is how the birth of Jesus is manifested to the world by the star which attracted the Wise men from the east (January 6). This fulfills the vision from Isaiah 60 of the wealth of the world to the king of David’s line.
We have already celebrated both the Baptism of Jesus where Jesus receives the Spirit who will inspire and lead his ministry, and Jesus is announced from the cloud that He is God’s Son with whom God is pleased, the beloved of God. Secondly, God’s glory has been revealed at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee when Jesus enacts his first sign by turning water into wine.
The major theme of the entire Epiphany season is the glory of God manifested through Jesus. The glory of God is now becoming visible, tangible, walking, feeling, and touching people. The glory of God being manifested, the calling of the disciples, their training, the exhibiting of Jesus’ powers, rejection by his people, and the transfiguration of Jesus on the final Sunday.
Jesus in the Epiphany season is calling us to become the disciples of Jesus, to follow him and to manifest his glory through our lives. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not becoming a member of your local church, while it may help develop and support your disciplines. Discipleship requires an immediate and abrupt change of life and loyalties. Jesus led his first disciples through a radical reorientation of their lives, including their occupations and their allegiances. What does it mean for you and me to be trained to follow Jesus and be trained to manifest his glory to the world? What practices and disciplines will we need to support our inner journey to becoming more connected to the inner glory of God being manifested in us? Finally, what concrete actions manifested in the outer world as justice and righteousness will we live out as the disciples of Jesus through and in the name of Living Lord in the Howland and Warren area?
The Story of the Week…One of the things that we, as Christians, who are people of the Book (Bible) really could use is a disciplined way for us to learn the many core Bible stories from the Scriptures. The book “Bible Stories for the Church Year” by Kristen Johnson Ingram does just that by tying Bible stories to the Sunday lectionary we use every week as part of worship. We will continue to offer a Bible story each week that is read as part of our liturgy to be learned called The Story of the Week. At some point, with more children present, we can even use these stories as the basis of children’s sermons and a Sunday School program. We plan to put out about ten copies each week and as the demand grows, we will make more copies available.
The Story of the Week for February:
February 6: Fifth Sunday after Epiphany: The call of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13)
February 13: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: Jesus Talks about Blessings (Luke 6:16, 20-26)
February 20: Seventh Sunday after Epiphany: Joseph Forgives his Brothers (Genesis 41:41-46:7)
February 27: Transfiguration Sunday: The Face of Moses Shines (Exodus 34:1-2, 28-35)
March 6: First Sunday in Lent: Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13)
Bring Back Your Palms…How many of us have our palms from last Palm/Passion Sunday? Well, it’s time for you to strip them from your home and return them to Pr. Larry so they can be cut up and burned to help make ashes for Ash Wednesday. This is an ancient practice of creating the ashes we need from the palms we received that have been decorating our homes since last year. Then you will receive fresh palms on Palm/Passion Sunday.
Mid-Week Bible Study…We continue our reading together the Gospel of Luke on Wednesday mornings at 11:00 am in the Fellowship Hall. If you are interested, just bring a version of the Bible you are comfortable working with. We are around the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Luke, so you haven’t missed much if you still would like to join us.
Thrivent Members…If you are a Thrivent member and would be interested in using your Thrivent Choice Dollars to support the ministries of Living Lord Lutheran Church, please call Pr. Klinker at 330-550-0077 or the church office. If you would be interested in using Thrivent Action Grants to help support the ministries of Living Lord, please also call Pr. Klinker or the church office. Pastor will meet with you to discuss how to go about setting up these support systems.
Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru Scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog. The readings alternate between readings from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book. We continue to read in February the Older Testament book of Ezekiel. When we finish with Ezekiel, we will begin to read the Newer Testament book of Revelation. Join us reading our way through the Bible on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at: http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/.
Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon. You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at email@example.com.