Epiphany: God made manifest

Epiphany is a marvelous and rich feast. Delightfully, that richness lingers throughout this whole last week of the Christmas season as we approach the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We see embers of that richness reflected in the prayers offered in the Church’s liturgy and in the readings proclaimed from Sacred Scripture. We hear declarations of the Kingship of Christ, manifestations of His marvelous glory, and his longing to claim His Bride.

Today the Bridegroom claims his bride, the Church, since Christ has washed her sins away in Jordan’s waters; the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice, for Christ has changed water into wine, alleluia. (Morning Prayer Antiphon)

God himself has taken on our human flesh in the Incarnation, but lest we forget in our gazing upon a sweet infant babe, the ensuing feasts quickly remind us that this sweet babe in the arms of Mary is the all-powerful King of the Universe who has broken into our world to bring light into dark places, to set captives free, and to draw not just a chosen few, but ALL, to himself.

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you… Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. (Isaiah 60:1-5)

In the early hours of Sunday morning the song God With Us by All Sons and Daughters began running through my mind. It is my Epiphany theme song! He has come to be so near to us; He is God with us. Come, stand in His glory; know His peace, hope, and light. And come as the Magi did, no matter how far you must travel, to lay all you are and all you have at His feet, even your costliest treasures. For you shall be radiant at what you see in this great king who comes to take you as His bride, and your heart shall overflow with more joy than you can imagine when His light floods your heart.

Who I Am [RAP MUSIC]

Tru-Serva and DiJohn serve up a great one in “Who I Am”.  The second verse in particular speaks volumes into our personal situation:

without you o wretched man that i am
this selfishness got my own plans in full demand
the battle inside says that i’m unworthy
and the thoughts in my mind says that i’m unholy
even though in your word it says draw closely
still, my greatest fear is that you wouldn’t know me.

(I would have posted the official music video, but it is focused on abuse, which is not the main focus of this post.)

Immeasurable Inspiration

“The Word of God is alive and active” says the writer to the Hebrews (Heb 4:12).  Each word.  Each and every word of the Holy Bible is infinitely rich and measurelessly (yes, it’s ok to make up words when normal words don’t work!) marvelous!

I just read one verse from the Song of Songs… a passage that might not seem all that great at first glance:

“My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.” (Song 1:14)

Would you say that about your beloved?  Maybe not.  We might say something like: “My Beloved for me is the sunrise after the rain.”  That’s poetic, and kind of nice.  But this passage from the first chapter of the Song of Songs may not seem to do much for a person.  It’s not as bad as some of the genealogies of the Old Testament, or the laws of Leviticus, but there just isn’t much there, is there?  THERE IS!!!

I read the following simple exposition and my heart leaped.  My soul surged.  My mind was lifted to the Heavens.  My desire for God increased.  My love for Jesus blossomed.  But that verse didn’t mean that much… or did it?  Take a read.  Read it out loud, slowly, as one would speak of a great love in one’s life.  And this is of the greatest Love…

The enamored soul being purified
now forgets the bitterness of the myrrh
so as to think only of the beauty of the Spouse Who she now can see,
or in some way or other feel, and contemplate with ineffable pleasure;
thus she exclaims: My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire
a flower extremely beautiful, sweet-smelling and valuable.
It is as though she were to say:
if in the mysteries of Your passion and death You were for me a bundle of very bitter myrrh,
this bitterness has been changed into ineffable sweetness
as You bring me to participate in the mysteries of Your Resurrection,
as You reveal Yourself to me in Your joys and triumphs,
in Your glorious Ascension,
in the communication of Your Holy Spirit with His inestimable graces and sweet scents of life,
and in the daily partaking of Your Chalice full of the mystical wine of Engedi
with which You delight our hearts,
and cleanse and beautify us with Your very blood.
“If you have already lamented your sins,” says St. Bernard,
“then taste the bitterness of myrrh;
but if you now feel within you the effects of a new life
it is a sign that bitterness has changed into sweetness for you…”
(Juan Arintero: The Song of Songs)

Every word of the Divine Text is filled with immeasurable inspiration.  Happy reading! Everyday!

Suffer With Jesus [SERMON]

Listen to Deacon Bryan’s homily from this morning. First, read this Gospel passage (Matthew 15:21-28):

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Jesus reveals his love for this woman through a strong challenge so he can boast about her great faith when she perseveres in prayer. Let’s imitate her great humility before the Lord!

Hey devil… You are Defeated!!!

Posted by: EvangelicalDisciple

 

YES! YES! YES! Kari Jobe did it again!
“Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!”
Hey devil… YOU ARE DEFEATED!!!
The Blood of Jesus has won the day, and “we sing Alleluia, the Lamb has overcome.”
Listen to it.
Close your eyes, or lift them to Heaven.
Fold your hands, or lift them to Heaven.
Either way, hearts’ surge, spirits’ shake, souls’ lift.

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