Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Epiphany and Theophany

Perhaps for selfish reasons, I can't help but post something today, the Feast of the Epiphany (for the Western Church) and the Feast of Theophany (for the Eastern Orthodox). After all, it's my birthday!

Fr. Tony Clavier makes important connections between Epiphany and evangelism in his recent blog posting:

It is hard for us to adjust to the new reality. Most people in our communities are not practicing Christians. The old loyalty to one’s “denomination” has largely evaporated. People “shop” for church, and make their choice often on the basis on the “program” a church offers, it’s youth activities, singles’ club, or contemporary worship. There are a good number who don’t look for a church. They can’t see how what Christians do has any relevance to the life they live and the problems they face. Many churches in our area are barely surviving, living off endowments, and peopled by aging parishioners who cling to the old way of doing things to please those who attend and particularly those who have attended the longest!

Yet the Feast of the Epiphany reminds us of our calling to be communities with The Message. Jesus didn’t tell us to construct local Upper Rooms, where we could huddle “for fear.” Instead he told us to “Go Tell” about Him. If evangelism is about recruitment, it is about recruiting people who will join us in using the local building as base camp from which we reach out into the community. Talking about a church “home” is really rather bad. Homes are comfortable places. They exist for us. The church exists for others.

Read it all.

Then there's Fr. Stephen's reflections on the Orthodox Feast of Theophany:

Today marks one of the greatest feasts of the Orthodox year (New Calendar), the Feast of Theophany, Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan river. Across the world Orthodox Christians will gather after the Liturgy to bless the waters: the ocean, a river, a spring, etc. ...

For Theophany is the feast of Christ’s baptism – and baptism, St. Paul tells us is a baptism into the death of Christ. His Baptism is a prefigurement of His death. Thus the waters of the Jordan are revealed as Hades. Christ’s descent into the waters becomes his descent into Hades where he “leads captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8) and sets free those who have been held in bondage to death. ...

Theophany is a proclamation to nature itself of Christ’s salvation. Our lives have plenty of “dragons,” in all shapes and sizes. But Christ is victorious over everything that would destroy his creation – particularly the people who are His own.

Read it all.


Steve Hayes said...

God grant you many years!

Thelema said...

Interesting posts you have, though I think Christianity is dead and will be redeemed and brought to fruition and perfection through Thelema. Check out my blog at if you will. Love is the law, love under will. ;)

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday big guy!!!

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for the well wishes, Steve and George.

I don't think we can take the decline of Christendom in the West as evidence for the truth of the thesis that "Christianity is dead," Thelema. But it might be interesting to try your thesis out in a place like Nigeria or Uganda. I hear Christianity (and Anglicanism, no less!) is exploding in such places.