Letter from the Clergy – January 21st

Epiphany Sermon Video

Click below to hear The Rev. Maurice Dyer’s Sunday sermon preview for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, January 24th, 2021.

Definition of epiphany
1 capitalized: January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3a(1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
(2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking
(3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b: a revealing scene or moment

Dear People of St. David’s,

It is still Epiphany: a season in our church year that can be variable in length, but this year lasts from January 6 through February 16. As you can see, its primary meaning is the “manifestation,” or “showing forth” of the infant Christ to the entire world, represented by the Magi, mythically coming from different parts of the world. Its second meaning is a little more general, but it is the more complex third meaning that is intriguing.

In a recent talk to the clergy of our diocese given by my friend The Rev. Dr. Flora Keshgegian, she spoke of hope, and the nature of hope. She reminded us that the meaning we make of hope is influenced by how we think about it. Devastatingly simple, right? But so true – we control our own experience of hope by how we choose to think about it. And then she asked, “What is it we want to make manifest?”

Epiphany belongs to all of us. It’s not just an historical event, an important festival in the church year. It is a way of thinking and being. At its very heart, it is hopeful! At the end of his ministry, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20) These are the instructions to the disciples, and we number ourselves among them. So here is the question, “What is it each one of us wants to make manifest?” How will we go about the mission of the church, which is making disciples? How shall we do that as we emerge, very slowly, from the time of pandemic?

We have a lot of “news” in our collective consciousness. It’s a new calendar year, and we often make resolutions. The church year is still young, having begun at the very end of November. As I write, we have a new president and vice president. And we hear an echo in our ears from The Revelation to John: “And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

So, knowing that only you are in control of how you experience hope, what is it that you want to make manifest? What illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure will give this New Year its fiery spark and kindle the way in which you show forth the Good News of God in Christ in thought, word, and deed? And in hope?