By Joyce D. Sohl
January 6 is known as the day of Epiphany and it is followed by the season of Epiphany through Ash Wednesday. In the early church Epiphany celebrated the coming of the magi, the baptism of Jesus and the early miracles of Jesus. Epiphany is a Greek word for manifestation or revelation. Today, Christians celebrate this season for the coming of Jesus into the world as a gift for all peoples, as God with each person. Each of us during this season can experience anew Christ’s presence in our hearts and lives. We are reassured that God is with us, but also that God is in everyone.
The star is often the symbol of Epiphany, for it represents the star that led the magi to Bethlehem. That star still shines today. It gives guidance to each of us on our faith journey. It is a star full of God’s promises of love, peace and justice. It is also a star of faith that lights the path for each of us as a disciple of Jesus the Christ. It symbolizes Jesus as the Light of the World.
During the season of Epiphany at Vespers & All That Jazz our theme is “Sensing the Presence of God.” (Remember that Vespers & All That Jazz meets each Sunday evening at 6:30 PM in Wightman Chapel for forty-five minutes of contemplative worship with jazz music.) We will learn from scripture, poetry, readings, prayer and music that we experience God through sight, touch, listening, and healing. We will explore the different human senses, physical and emotional that God presents God’s self to us.
Our service themes and scriptures are:
January 4 Look and See! / Isaiah 60,1-4a; Matthew 2:9-11; John 1:43-46 / God leads the magi with a star
January 11 Touch and Be! / Mark 1:4-11 / The touch of baptism
January 18 Listen! / 1 Samuel 3:1-20 / The call of God
January 25 The Voice Speaks / Jonah; Psalm 29:3-9 / God speaks through Jonah
February 1 God’s Great Works / Psalm 111 / God works through each of us
February 8 The Healing Presence Within / Isaiah 40:31; Mark 1:32-34 / Jesus heals then and now
February 15 Listen to Jesus / Mark 9:7 / Hearing and responding to the message of Jesus
Come and join in these worship experiences. May this be your prayer for the season of Epiphany:
May the light of the star guide me once again
to see Jesus as the Light of the World.
May that Light allow me
to see God within each person I meet.
May that Light lead me to enact words and deeds
of justice, mercy and love.
In the name of the Light, I pray. Amen
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.