Epiphany of the Lord Jesus (6 January 2014)

Contents

Lectionary

Year A

  • Isaiah 60:1-6 and Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Matthew 2:1-12

Year B

  • Isaiah 60:1-6 and Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Matthew 2:1-12

Year C

  • Isaiah 60:1-6 and Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Matthew 2:1-12

 

Introduction

The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord concludes the traditional twelve days of Christmas in the West with a celebration of the universal significance of the Christ Child. In recent lectionaries this festival also introduces a season of varying length between Christmas and Lent. During this season the readings provide an opportunity to explore some of the different ways in which an epiphany (a Greek word for an event or action that reveals the otherwise hidden presence of a god) form part of the Christian faith tradition. Epiphany celebrates the possibility of an encounter with the Sacred beginning with a celebration of the life of Jesus as a divine disclosure.

Commentary and Critical Notes

In my forthcoming new book, Jesus Then and Jesus Now: Looking for Jesus, Finding Ourselves (Mosaic Publications, early 2014) I comment as follows on this week’s Gospel episode:

… the visit of the magi in Matthew’s infancy story … is hardly an event that reveals anything about the attitude shown by the adult Jesus towards people of different faiths. Yet the story cannot be dismissed so readily. It is most likely a legend created by Matthew in light of a visit to Rome by King Tridates of Armenia a few decades before the Gospel was composed. Even so, this story affirms that people far beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community were not only the recipients and beneficiaries of divine revelation, but eagerly responded at no small expense to themselves. Intended to glorify the Christ Child as someone whose life would be a blessing to those who are far off, the tale also opens the windows of the house of faith for fresh breezes to blow from the East. Given the placement of Matthew as the first of the four gospels, this story of a rich interfaith moment at the birth of Jesus provides a canonical framing of the Jesus story that should not be overlooked.

The following links provide more detailed information on various aspects of this story, including extended citations of the ancient sources:

 

Jesus Database

Liturgies and Prayers

For liturgies and sermons each week, shaped by a progressive theology, check Rex Hunt’s web site

Other recommended sites include:

 

Music Suggestions

See David MacGregor’s Together to Celebrate site for recommendations from a variety of contemporary genre.

About gregoryjenks

Anglican priest and religion scholar. Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. Dean-elect, Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Grafton. Formerly Dean at St George's College, Jerusalem. Currently serving as the locum priest at Byron Bay Anglican Parish.
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