Light In the Darkness
The Epiphany of Our Lord
6 January 2017
Several years ago, while spending the Christmas holiday with family in Canada, we Houstonians were amazed at how short the daylight hours were. My wife and I, who were born and raised in those dreary northern climes, were reminded of the power of "cabin fever" that reigns as the queen of darkness there. The glory of light is a powerful figure which speaks to those who live in darkness and in the shadow of winter. It is odd indeed that in the deepest winter darkness the church celebrates the light of Christ and the glory of the Lord. God's public relations specialist seems to have failed Him in the church's choice of 6 January, twelve days after Christmas, to celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. The light has dawned upon us when the light seems least with us. Perhaps that is instructive. For God's light shines in the darkness, that darkness might be made light. This is the glory of the Light, that it enlightens the darkness and defeats those things that lurk in the dark.
We love to live in the light because we are not hiding anything. The Lord has taken the work of covering and hiding out of our hands and placed them in the nail scarred hands of Christ Jesus. What He covers no light could ever search or find. So we are delighted by the light of the truth that He has shone into our lives. Nothing is there of which we ought to be ashamed, for He has covered those things long ago by drowning them in the profusion of blood and water that came from His precious side.
When we are in the dark, the Light of Christ is most important to us. Just when we are stumbling about seeking our way, the Light from above is what will mark the way. Epiphany light in the season of darkness is what the people of God need. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2Co 4:6).

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

John Chrysostom
"'We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth' (Jn 1:14). We admire Him not only on account of the miracles, but also by reason of the sufferings; that He was nailed upon the cross, that He was scourged, that He was buffeted, that He was spit upon, that He received blows on the cheek from those to whom He had done good. For even of those things which seem to be shameful, it is proper to repeat the same expression, because He Himself called the action [of His crucifixion] "glory." For what then took place was (proof) not only of kindness and love, but also of unspeakable power. At that time death was abolished, the curse was loosed, devils were shamed and led in triumph and made a show of, and the handwriting of our sins was nailed to the cross. And then, since these wonders were happening invisibly, others took place visibly, showing that He was truly the Only-begotten Son of God, the Lord of all creation. For while that blessed body hung upon the tree, the sun turned away its rays, the whole earth was troubled and became dark, the graves were opened, the ground quaked, and an innumerable multitude of dead leaped forth, and went into the city. And while the stones of His tomb were fastened upon the vault, and the seals set upon them, the dead rose and the Crucified, the nail-pierced One, having filled His eleven disciples with His mighty power, sent them to men throughout all the world, to be the common healers of all their kind, to correct their way of living, to spread through every part of the earth the knowledge of their heavenly doctrines, to break down the tyranny of devils, to teach those great and ineffable blessings, to bring to us the glad tidings of the soul's immortality, the eternal life of the body, and rewards which are beyond conception, and shall never have an end. These things then, and more than these, the blessed Evangelist had in mind, things which though he knew, he was not able to write, because the world could not have contained them ( Jn 21:25 ), reflecting therefore on all these, he cries out, 'We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.'
"Therefore, those who have been deemed worthy to see and to hear such things, and who have enjoyed so great a gift, are also moved to display a life worthy of the doctrines, that they may enjoy also the good things which are laid up there. For our Lord Jesus Christ came, not only that we might behold His glory here, but also that glory which is yet to be. For He said, 'I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory' (Jn 17:24). Now if the glory here was so bright and splendid, what can one say of that glory which shall be? For it shall appear not on this corruptible earth, nor while we are in perishable bodies, but in a creation which is imperishable, and does not grow old, and with such brightness that it is not possible even to represent it in words. How blessed, thrice blessed, yes, many times so, are they who are deemed worthy to be beholders of that glory! It is concerning this that the prophet says, 'Let the unrighteous be taken away, that he not behold the glory of the Lord.' (Is 26:10) God grant that not one of us be taken away nor ever excluded from beholding it."

John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, 12.3
2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Collect for Epiphany
O God, by the leading of a star You once made known to all nations Your only begotten Son; now lead us, who know you by faith, to know in heaven the fullness of Your divine goodness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For Michael Golchert in thanksgiving to God, that God has granted him a remission of his cancer

For faculty and staff of Memorial Lutheran School, as they thank God for the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come in a memorial service for Headmaster Bill Heine
For Jill Stoneburner, who is undergoing chemotherapy, that the Lord Jesus would strengthen her and give her healing
For those who see only the darkness, that in the Lord's light they might see light
Art: MEMLING, Hans   Adoration of the Magi ( c. 1470)
Memorial Lutheran Church
©  Scott Murray 2016