The Baptism of the Lord

Epiphany tells the story of the Magi following a star, the presence of which was to foretell the coming of a savior. The importance of Epiphany was understood in the early church as the universal call of Christ. No longer was God’s call exclusive to the people of Israel, it was now extended throughout the known world, as symbolized by the ethnic mix of the three kings, one of whom is traditionally seen as African.    This universal call was preached by Paul who saw God’s promise as first given to the sons and daughters of Abraham but now the invitation of salvation was provided to all by Christ. This universality of Christianity marked it as unique among religions of the Mediterranean since it advanced a religious vision that did not rest on ethnicity or region. Instead, the message of Christianity rested on the very nature of humanity and the nature of a loving God.  Humanity required salvation since it can know the difference between right and wrong and, despite this knowledge, as Paul describes in his letter to the Romans, choose error and therefore deserves judgment. God, as the Evangelist John writes, is Love and that love is seen in person of Christ who redeems us and established the church so that redemptive work may continue in time. The feast of Epiphany reminds us that Christ’s invitation to the fullness of eternal life is extended to all.  As Christians, we share in extending that universal spirit to everyone, even those people we would prefer to ignore.

January 8th, 2018