Epiphany Study from Migration Ministries

Episcopal Migration Ministries is offering an Epiphany Curriculum, which includes free resources to oversee a faithful and meaningful Epiphany 2018.

“After the celebration and joy of Christmas, the Church turns its attention to the Epiphany of Christ, and a season when we remember time and again how God is made manifest in the world,” noted the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “In these important days, Episcopal Migration Ministries invites congregations and faith communities to reflect on the rich history of the Episcopal Church’s work among refugees, as we have answered collectively the revealed Son of God’s call to be his ministers in a hurting world.”

Designed for Adult Christian Formation, the six-week Epiphany Curriculum is ideal for congregations, individuals, adult forums, discussion groups, and other church-based gatherings. “Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of Episcopal Migration Ministries, refugee resettlement, the stories of our new American neighbors, and how God is calling each of us into this work,” Stevenson said.

Click here for the Epiphany Curriculum.

“It was the story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt as refugees that inspired Episcopalians in Southern Ohio in the 1930s to offer refuge to those fleeing Nazi Europe,” Stevenson added. “So, too, do we hear that same story this Epiphany season and recommit ourselves to ministry among the 65 million children, women, and men who have fled their homes in our days because of violence or persecution. Each one of these children of God is a person with a name and a story, each with hopes and dreams, and all deserving of peace and opportunity. Through this educational resource, Episcopalians can come to know these stories, offer possibility to those hopes, and provide for the realization of such peace and opportunity.”

Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 22 affiliate offices in 17 states.

 

O Antiphons: O Emmanuel . . . come and save us

 

December 23
O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14) :
“O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Savior. O come and save us, Lord, our God.”

 

From Marthe Curry

Picture two old souls who hunger deeply for the coming Messiah.  Shattered memories of a kingdom destroyed by disobedience, decades of exile under heartless oppressors, and humiliation at the hand of Roman conquerors cannot diminish eyes whose faith sees and waits for Messiah. 

Simeon and Anna are no strangers to the temple. Temple is home to Anna, and she and Simeon must often have watched and spoken of the Promise.  Engraved on their hearts are the words of Isaiah, of God’s coming to be with them — Emmanuel.  Despite years of disappointment, of widowhood for Anna, of grave injustices at the hands of their conquerors, and hypocrisy characterizing the religious leaders of the day, Simeon and Anna continue to linger.

They linger, for they believe.  And one day, “moved by the Spirit, [Simeon goes] into the temple courts.” And there “at that very moment” faithful Anna and Simeon see the Child, the one who will be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel”—Emmanuel, the Christ Child, God with us. 

May this deep longing for the presence of the living God with and in us fill our hearts as we, like Simeon and Anna, stand in anticipation, trusting, and waiting expectantly for the revelation of Emmanuel, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people who will come, as promised, and set us free.

Marthe Curry is the director of the Department of World Mission for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Reach her at mcurry@sbcglobal.net.

Photography by the Rev. Doug Earle. See more of Doug’s work at Www.DougEarlePhotography.com.


The well-known Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel recalls the prophet Isaiah’s several descriptions of the coming Messiah. During the seventh and eighth centuries, these descriptions were compiled into antiphons and were recited before and after the Magnificat during Vespers or Evening Prayer for the seven evenings preceding Christmas.

We present these O Antiphons from December 17 to December 23 along with meditations from writers across the diocese and the photography of the Rev. Doug Earle.

For more about the O Antiphons click here.

O Antiphons: O King . . . come and save man

 

December 22
O Rex Gentium (Isaiah 2:4; 9:5):
“O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay.”

 

From the Rev. Mary Earle

I have a friend who creates clay pots. She has said, over the years, that her best work is “formed around the empty space inside the pot.” She has tried different kinds of clay, and discovered that always, always her hands take on the color and sheen of the clay she is working. Once she tried working with loza negra, the beautiful black clay of Oaxaca in Mexico, and to her delight found that her hands were one with the color of the clay.

In Genesis 2, we receive the scripture passage that speaks of God fashioning the human race from clay. There is an intimacy here—that knowing that comes from touch and embrace, from handling and stroking. Shocking, isn’t it? For we also proclaim that this Holy One who comes to dwell with us is our sovereign.

Imagine a sovereign squatting by a potter’s wheel. Imagine a royal personage with hands cased in clay. Imagine the sweat as the clay is worked, the concentration required, the happy surprise when something shows forth that is beautiful and unanticipated.

These waning days of Advent invite us to live in this strange, mysterious and eternal truth—the babe in the manger, Jesus, rules only with love. When we surrender ourselves to divine rule, we let go into what Thomas Merton called “mercy within mercy within mercy.” No coercion. No forcing. No manipulation. Christ’s royal presence, within that God-shaped space in our human clay, gently abides and dwells. Only when we awaken to that presence can each of us, and our respective nations, begin to respect the dignity of every human being and to choose life.

That space within us is of divine origin and design. Therein the Light of Christ abides, and from that Light shining in the darkness, the sacred darkness of the clay of our being, a peace beyond our asking or imagining will come forth.

O come, let us adore him.

 

The Rev. Mary Earle is a writer, educator, and retired priest. Reach her at mcearle48@gmail.com.

Photography by the Rev. Doug Earle. See more of Doug’s work at Www.DougEarlePhotography.com.

 


The well-known Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel recalls the prophet Isaiah’s several descriptions of the coming Messiah. During the seventh and eighth centuries, these descriptions were compiled into antiphons and were recited before and after the Magnificat during Vespers or Evening Prayer for the seven evenings preceding Christmas.

We present these O Antiphons from December 17 to December 23 along with meditations from writers across the diocese and the photography of the Rev. Doug Earle.

For more about the O Antiphons click here.

O Antiphons: O Rising Sun . . . enlighten us

 

December 21
O Oriens (Isaiah 9:1):
“O Rising Sun, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

From the Rev. Carol Morehead

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.   Genesis 1:1-5

There is a wonderful rhythm of darkness and light that punctuates our lives.  In the creation story of Genesis 1, darkness is that starting point, and God begins the act of creation with speaking light into being:  Let there be light.  And it was so.  The cycle of a day is measured from evening to evening, and from that first light that dawned, there has always been the sure promise of the dawn breaking, bringing us out of darkness and into the light of day.

Isaiah reminds us of God’s promise of light.  The Rising Sun of the light of God shines on the world, bringing justice, bringing enlightenment, bringing life.  And in these short, often dark days, we may ask, What does the sun of justice look like in our world, in our lives?  It looks like hands held out in friendship, meals shared with those who have no food, clothes to those who have none, sickness healed, hurting hearts bound with grace, words of hatred drowned out by open hands and open hearts, with forgiveness and mercy.  When the light of God shines into the darkness of injustice, of oppression, of shadow and death and sin, the light gives new life, fresh eyes, strength to meet the day with hope, seeing the promises of life lived with justice.  “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public,” said Cornel West.

One of my favorite paintings is called the Star of Bethlehem by Edward Byrnes Jones.  In it, an angel holds the star that led the magi to Bethlehem.  They have all arrived from afar, and they are before the manger, crowns removed, humble and curious.  But they are not kneeling, and the painting captures their moment of decision.  What will they do with this child?  Will they cast down their crowns?  Will they bend the knee?  Will they be led by this new Light that has come into the world?

As we await the Christ Child, we too must decide what we will do.  Will we see the light that is dawning in our world?  Will we feel the light within, yearning to shine into the darkness of the world?  Will the light shine into the darkness of oppression and sin and death, bringing justice and hope?  Will we know that each night, as the vesper light fades into the darkness of night, the sun will once more pierce the darkness and bring the morning light?  Always?

 

The Rev. Carol Morehead is Associate Rector for Liturgy, Adult Formation, and Pastoral Care at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio TX.

Photography by the Rev. Doug Earle. See more of Doug’s work at Www.DougEarlePhotography.com.


The well-known Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel recalls the prophet Isaiah’s several descriptions of the coming Messiah. During the seventh and eighth centuries, these descriptions were compiled into antiphons and were recited before and after the Magnificat during Vespers or Evening Prayer for the seven evenings preceding Christmas.

We present these O Antiphons from December 17 to December 23 along with meditations from writers across the diocese and the photography of the Rev. Doug Earle.

For more about the O Antiphons click here.