January 7, 2021
A Message from Pastor Sell
 EPI - PHANOS - EPIPHANY - In the presence of...

P: Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.
C: The Light no darkness can overcome.
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 
 2 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. (Isaiah 60:1, 2)
 "I just had an epiphany!" When we hear someone say that, something has just "dawned" on them. Or, they now realize... or, now I get it. 

We are in the season of Epiphany. It comes from two Greek words epi and phanos. The first word means "in the presence of." The second word means light/revelation.


A LITTLE HISTORY

The 6th of January was the accepted date for the Festival of Epiphany, or the Manifestation of the Lord, by the end of the third century (late 200's). Epiphany commemorated not only the birth of Christ, but also His baptism and, in some cases, His first miracle, and other moments in the life of Jesus that tells us, "Hey, this Jesus is God!" Thus Epiphany is the declaration of the revelation and manifestation of the divinity of Christ in His humanity.

EPIPHANY AND THE CHURCH

So, the revelation of Jesus is the revelation that the man, named Jesus, is the one true God. This eternal truth is known and understood only through God having to "reveal" that Jesus is the divine Messiah. That revelation can't be learned in nature or the reasonable things of the world or science. God had to tell us. Jesus had to declare it. Scripture is the "turns on the EPIPHANY light."
Church is the shining light in the midst of the dark world. Just as Christ walked the earth and looked like every other man, so does a church look like another building. Through the years believers do their best to set apart the building in which they gather to look a little different than other buildings, but the laws of engineering are the same. The cross on the roof, stained glass windows, the decor of the interior and other things mark the location of the believers who are gathered for worship OF THE ONE TRUE LIGHT. The revelation of Christ is exactly why church is not supposed to be another auditorium or theater. Rather it's architecture and design is to place you in the presence of God through the Word and the Sacramental life.
The key to the church being the church are the saved children of God gathered to hear the regular MANIFESTATION OF THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. The lights of salvation are turned on in the midst of the darkness of sin. The believers are gathered by God to sit IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LIGHT - to reveal the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and have Jesus bring a culture of mercy and forgiveness and then bathe those gathered in that baptismal grace. 
In the humble work of Jesus, throughout His life, His deeds and actions are those of the Savior of the world. He did miracles, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, taught the people who sat in darkness that He is the light of the world.
Gee, what an Epiphany.


Pastor Sell
An update from
Our Savior Lutheran School
Sharing Christ's Love, Centered in God's Word
Re-enrollment will begin January 15, and our special prayer is that the children who came because of in-person school during COVID will have found this to be the place they want to finish their elementary/junior high schooling. Some of the children may move back to public school next fall; they will take their experience with God's Word back with them. As one student said, “I miss my friends, but it’s been great here. I’m so glad I came. Before, I guess I believed in God, but I wasn’t really sure. If someone asked me if I was a Christian I would say “yeah.” But now I for sure know who God is and I know why I’m a Christian. I’m so thankful for learning about God here.” No matter how long...or short...we have students, our prayer is that the Spirit works through us as He did in this child. Please continue to pray for the children and their families as they make life-altering decisions.

~Michelle Eggold, Principal
1-6-21 Chapel
In the Beginnings written by Gary Weber
Mr. Weber is an elder at OSL and author of devotional booklets for Lutheran Hour
In contemplating how exciting it is to start new things, it almost gives pause to wonder about the joy God took in the work(s) of His Creation! The Bible records that He saw that it “was good.” If we dare try to superimpose our own human feelings on our God, we can perhaps imagine the satisfaction He took; that on the “seventh day” He rested. And we can only surmise that on that day He looked with pleasure on the new world He had made out of His omnipotence.

As His children, we are acquainted with the excitement of fresh starts and new beginnings. Take, for example, the start of a new “school year” or “church year”- or a “New Year.” “Slates” become symbolically “wiped clean,” and the exhilarating feeling of the “fresh start” prevails. We are grateful to be presented with yet another opportunity to “do better this time!”

Of course this is part of the ongoing joy we share as Christians. As often as we are prone to step through the door covered with the mud of our transgressions, seeking His forgiveness, God, through the merits of Jesus is always there, constantly “wiping our slate clean” from the smudges of our sin. And then comes the joy that He has provided us the opportunity to continually start anew with a peaceful heart; yet another new beginning!

Institutions like schools or churches may often mark these times of new beginnings by setting fresh goals, forming renewed statements of purpose, tuning up visions, etc. The excitement of this exercise need not be limited to boards or committees. As individual members of Christ’s church, each of us is provided with the opportunity at any time to catch a fresh vision of the “newness” of God’s covenant with us – and to respond accordingly! There are Biblical imperatives which compel us to “sing a new song” (Psalm 33:3). Two come to mind: “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Is. 65:17); “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor.5:17).

It might be said that the above passages serve to portray the Christian faith as a constant morning in which we anticipate the opportunities of the day, and act upon them…only to find ourselves confronted with yet another delicious new dawn! Seeking ever-better ways to worship and serve God’s Kingdom, our individual plans may include matters of prayer, a loving and caring heart, strength of character, purity of spirit, taking action, studying the Word, or levels of sacrifice.

Happy goal-setting!
cross-mountain-clouds.jpg
Thus we pray: Lord God, impart unto my soul the richness of Your Spirit. Show me the ways in which I may serve You in the newness of Your Creation through the merits of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
JOIN US IN BIBLE STUDY
Sunday morning at 9:15am.

We will continue our study of the Book of John with the help of Dr. Armbrust

Meet in the fellowship hall or online
Link to Sunday meeting
Meeting ID: 588 101 866

Bible study from Tuesday
Tuesday nights Dr. Armbrust will lead a Bible study on the book of
Galatians.

Join us on Zoom at 7pm.

Link to Tuesday meeting
Meeting ID: 613691239
EMAILS

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THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who purchased store cards for their family, friends, seminarian tree and staff. All the profit goes toward the building fund principle. This is an ongoing program. After Christmas we will still have a few envelopes on the table for anyone who would like to order.
Devotional Resources
Daily Reflections are provided by Higher Things. www.higherthings.org
A resource for youth and their families
led by Dr. Kevin Armbrust

Videos of previous Bible studies and more from Crucial Productions
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Our Savior Lutheran Church and School www.oursaviorlcs.org