09 Feb Still Epiphany
You may be aware that Lent is later in the year than it was last year or the year before. In fact, with Ash Wednesday on March 6 this year, this is the first time we have seen Lent begin this late since 2011, when Ash Wednesday was on March 9.
I bring this up only to say that in the February newsletter, ordinarily I would be writing something about Lent. But since we are not observing Lent this February, I thought I would focus on the liturgical season we are in: Epiphany.
Epiphany begins on January 6 and runs all the way to the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Since Ash Wednesday comes so late this year, the season of Epiphany is longer than usual. And since we really didn’t look at Epiphany in January, due to our focus on stewardship, we now have an opportunity to consider this season and its significance.
Epiphany is similar in many ways to Christmas. It begins with the wise men being led by a star to worship the Christ-child who is born king of the Jews. In order to distinguish these holidays, perhaps we might say that Christmas looks at the incarnation from the standpoint that God hides himself in human form while Epiphany emphasizes the divinity of Jesus Christ. Another way to say it is Christmas is God revealing himself as a man and Epiphany is Jesus, a man, revealing himself to be God.
Jesus, the man, revealing himself to be divine is a theme in the gospel readings throughout Epiphany. Take for instance, the gospel readings we will be looking at in February. In Luke 4:31-44, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man, showing his power over Satan. Then we see Jesus perform a miracle of a great catch of fish in Luke 5:1-11. The last two Sundays in February focus on the authority in Jesus’ teaching (Luke 6:17-26 and 27-38). Epiphany ends on Transfiguration Sunday, with Jesus revealing his divinity to Peter, James, and John in Luke 9:28-36.
Epiphany reminds us that the one who comes to be our substitute is none other than God himself. That means that he is able to live that life that we should live, but don’t. He is able to die for sins that are not his own so that we can be forgiven and given his righteousness. Because he is God, he is victorious over our sin, the power of Satan, and death itself in his resurrection. In short, because Jesus is God, he can save us, and he has saved us.
Blessings to you as we continue to celebrate Epiphany.