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Psalm 72Isaiah 60:1-6Ephesians 3:1-12Matthew 2:1-12

Two important dates overlap on our calendar this weekend. The first is the Epiphany. a celebration of Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles. We commemorate this event by recalling the visitation of the magi. These foreign wise men came looking for the Christ child because they were led by a star and they returned safely to their homes, and protected the baby Jesus, because they paid attention to a dream directing them not to visit Herod.

It brings to mind the passage in Exodus 19:6ff, where God, calling Israel to be his nation of priests, reminds Moses that “indeed the whole earth is  mine”.

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son
to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by
faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to
face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Genesis 1:1-5Psalm 29Acts 19:1-7Mark 1:4-11

Detail of a youthful-looking Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.

Another event frequently associated with the Epiphany is the baptism of Christ. This is fitting because the baptism happens early in each of the Gospels but also, and more importantly, because it is an epiphany, an appearing of Jesus as Lord and Christ. He is revealed by no less than God the Father who says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”, along with the Holy Spirit who lands on him as if it were a dove.

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River
Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him
with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his
Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly
confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy
Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.