Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany 2019 - Arise! Shine !! Your light has come ...

Jan 6, 2019
Epiphany Sunday
Fr. Phil Eberhart

Isa 60:1-9
Ps 72:1-11
Eph 3:1-13
Matt 2:1-12
Good morning and Happy New Year!

Welcome to EPIPHANY!!

This is the season of light!  The light that has dawned on the whole world!  

I was happy to see our Isaiah reading this morning as it is one of my favorite passages.  One that has been sung over this church for nearly two decades!!  It was sung as I was Instituted as Rector of St. George's and has become a bit of a theme song for us.  We will end our worship this morning with it!

I want to expand the passage a bit.  Our reading was a portion of the chapter, but I want to extend our reading both backward by two verses and forward by two verses.  I wanted to see what was "around" this chapter as I thought about what to say this morning...

Isa 59
[Isa 59:21 ESV] 21 "And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore."

[Isa 61:1-3 ESV] 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

So the context of Isa 60 is set in between the reiteration of the OLD COVENANT PROMISE and the NEW COVENANT FULFILLMENT.  All in three chapters.
 
Epiphany is about the shedding of the light into the world, the whole world!  Jesus himself used these verses as His "job description" when He read from the scroll of Isaiah in his hometown synagogue one sabbath, highlighting these verses from Isaiah 61.

And then Jesus looked up and said, "Today, in your hearing, these verses have been fulfilled!"  His family and his friends from his home town, understood fully what He had claimed that morning.  And they rejected him, because of familiarity with him and his family.  

These verses are clearly the foretelling of the Messiah's coming.  And THAT was what they knew Jesus was claiming.
So they took him and were going to throw him off the cliff!

Jesus faced opposition to himself and his message from the very outset, it wasn't something that was a surprise, about which Jesus was suddenly dejected.  

Isaiah 60 is the description of the Messianic Kingdom - the promise of what is coming...
Keep in mind that this age described is the one that we are in right now.  An age where Darkness covers the earth and we are the "shining light."  What is being described is the rising of the Messiah.

We are the "reflectors" of His glory!

the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you. 

the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.

I'm reminded of the verses from 2 Cor 3 as Paul writes of this age...

[2Co 3:14-18 ESV] 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 

This season is about the spread of the glory and the knowledge of the Lord, "as the waters cover the earth."
But the spread of the light is set in the context of battle.  Just like Jesus in His hometown synagogue, we will face the opposition of those who love their darkness.

There should be no surprise when we come up against this in our culture.  Jesus encountered it almost from Day One and so will we...   so DO we!

We are in darkness but the light has dawned on us.  And so we reflect the light into the darkness around us.
We are not the light!  Matthew tells us that we are like a "city on a hill."

Coming to REZ sometimes in the morning I happen to be driving up Yosemite when the sun rises.  It's a bright place with the sunrise reflecting off of all the mirror windows in the office buildings.  And so as I come here I pray that God will begin to be reflected in the life and work of the DTC!

We have been given a unique perch!  God has sent us to this place, to pray, to bless, to enter into the war over this city. As you know there is much yet to be done, for us to fully acquire this property, and we trust that God has brought us this far by faith, and so we move forward.

Please be in prayer daily for us in this battle - but pray the verses of the song at the end of your bulletin.
God has called us to Arise & Shine!  Welcome to 2019.

Let's pray.

Lord Jesus, as we enter a new year we look even more fully to You for all you have ordained for us to be and do.
We give you thanks for the way you have led us thus far and pray you will open our eyes to see your hand at work, on our behalf, throughout the days to come.  You are faithful and You are the one who has done it.  Let there never by any doubt about your Presence and Your hand of provision and favor.  We commit our way to You, Lord and know that you will bring it to pass.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen!