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The Spirit of Epiphany

There is a story in the book of Acts which beautifully expresses the spirit of the Epiphany season. The passage reads as follows:

But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” This is a desert road. And he rose and went. And behold an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship
and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And
the spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and
heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, “Do you understand what
you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?”
And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the
scripture which he was reading was this:
As a sheep led to the slaughter
or a lamb before its shearer is dumb,
so he opens not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken up from the earth.”
And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, pray, does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus. And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized
him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up
with Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the gospel to all the
towns till he came to Caesarea.

(Acts 8: 26-39 RSV)

Imagine a man who has been awakened to the fact that there is a holy and righteous God in heaven. There is a God who will one day sit in judgment of all mankind. And this man realizes that he will be condemned at God’s bar of justice.

This awakened man becomes a seeker after relief from guilt. In his quest for relief he turns to religion. He becomes a moral man. He applies himself to religion and ethical behavior. But his heart remains empty and the weight of guilt is not lifted. Night and day his mind is filled with uncertainty and fear.

This is a picture of the Ethiopian. It is also the picture of many people in the world today. They wander in the dark seeking a light to guide them to peace.

Imagine a second man, one who was once in the same state as the first. He too stood guilty before God who is a consuming fire. He too had had an emptiness and darkness in his soul. He had also been a devoutly religious man.

But this second man found something that removed his guilt and gave him peace. I should say he met someone who gave him this salvation. He met the Son of God, the Light of the world. Through faith in Jesus Christ his sin had been forgiven and he had
received life, eternal life.

This man now loved God. Before he had fled from God out of fear. Now he is drawn to God, whom he now saw as a loving Father.

This love for God flowed out to other people. People he did not love before, now he loved. This may have come as a great surprise to him. He prays for them and seeks to relieve their needs. Most importantly he wants them to experience the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

This is a picture of Philip. Philip was one of the first seven deacons who were given the task of relieving the needs of the poor in the early church. His heart was so full of God’s grace that he began to preach the Gospel, even to the gentiles.

One day these two men met, Philip and the Ethiopian When Philip encountered the Ethiopian the man was reading from the prophecy of Isaiah. The Ethiopian could not understand what he was reading, so Philip began to explain the Scripture.. Isaiah’s prophecy was about Christ. Philip shared the Gospel with the Ethiopian and he believed and was baptized.

Like Philip we live in a dark world, a world where there are countless numbers of people like the Ethiopian eunuch. But there is hope and light. There is a message of salvation.

Who will take that message to those in need? The answer is always the same, men and women like Philip. May we be such people!

by Reverend Frank M. Levi

Parish News
Our Senior Warden, Mr. Paul Sellers, moved to Florida in November. Paul was a faithful member and diligent worker in this parish. He will be greatly missed. Do be in prayer for Paul as he begins a new career in Florida.

The parish celebrated the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30, 1998. We shared in a delicious pot luck dinner after which we gathered in the chapel for Evening Prayer. The offering went to World Relief.

During the coffee hour following morning worship on December 13, 1998 the ladies of the Woman’s Guild had a bake sale. We thank all who baked and/or bought. The proceeds will go toward missions and other projects. We do appreciate the work of the Woman’s Guild.

Missionary of The Month

Domestic Missions
Please pray for the Rev. & Mrs. Gary McGinnis (Debbie), and their children Benjamin, Seth, Samuel, Caleb, and Jacob, and our brethren faithfully laboring to build Christ Reformed Episcopal Mission in Bothell, Washington.

Happy Birthday!
Jan. 6 - Elaine Spencer
Jan. 11 - Laura Sutton
Jan. 15 - Linda Zaleski
Jan. 18 - Janet Toomey
Jan. 26 - David Sutton
Jan. 28 - Phil Smith

EPIPHANY, January 6, 1999

A NEW YEAR

by Helen Kitchell Evans

Steadily the old year passes;
Another year arrives again.
Will it bring a better way
To stamp out greed in hearts of men?

Another year extended to us
By our Lord’s amazing grace:
Another chance to overcome
The problems of our human race.

Another year of striving
To find a way for peace;
Another chance for planning
How to make wars cease.

Another year; the time flies on!
The rate is ever faster!
Let us cherish every hour
As we try to serve our Master.


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