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Pastoral Letter, January 12, 2024

To the Saints of San Carlos during the First Week of Epiphany:



         The season of Epiphany always begins on January 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany) and extends until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  We began the season with an Epiphany Party at the home of Bruce and Ann Willard, having lunch and sitting around their enormous tree.

         Despite its beauty and depth, Epiphany is arguably the least understood and least appreciated of all the seasons. We know Advent, or think we do, because it comes just before Christmas—a fact which, for better and worse, has shaped the season. We know that Lent means the cross, and Easter means the empty tomb. Pentecost means the descent of the Spirit. 

         Epiphany means . . . what, exactly?

         Epiphaneia in New Testament Greek means manifestation. The fulness of the incarnation that has taken place will be manifested in various ways during the Epiphany season—and climactically in Lent and Easter soon to follow. The themes of Epiphany can be powerfully preached and taught for the health and growth of the church. They are revelatory themes, suitable to the overall motif of manifestation or showing forth—the basic definition of epiphaneia in New Testament Greek. What exactly is it that is shown forth? We shall see as the biblical witness unfolds.  (Thanks to my Union Theological Seminary classmate Fleming Rutledge for the above paragraphs.)

         Our Biblical witness on this First Sunday of Epiphany was 

 

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine; for your light has come,

and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.


For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,


and thick darkness the peoples;


but the LORD will arise upon you,


and his glory will be seen upon you.


And nations shall come to your light,


and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

         We will use this scripture again this coming Sunday as our Call to Worship.  Light in the darkness is our theme for the whole of Epiphany.  As John the evangelist wrote:  "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not."

 

         Our church continues to shine its light in this community.  We leave the lights on outside the sanctuary and have a lighted tree in the window of the Callis and Elaine Community Center.  At our Annual Meeting on January 21st, we look forward to approving one of the most balanced budgets in the last forty years.  The light still shines.  God is still speaking.

 

Here are the readings for this coming Sunday, the 2nd after Epiphany:''

 

Jeremiah 31:31-33

         "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband,” says the LORD. 


         “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

Matthew 2:12-15

         And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.  Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."

         And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." 


 

 

- Pastor Richard Hyde


Community Church of San Carlos


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