Epiphany gets its name from the Greek word that means an appearance or manifestation. Christians celebrate is festival on January 6th, the day after the 12 days of the Christmas season. It marks the coming of the wise men (Magi), to worship baby Jesus. They were astrologers who saw signs in the stars.
The season of Epiphany ends on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Because the wise men were Gentile foreigners, Epiphany symbolizes the first recognition of Jesus by non-Jews. This is a reminder that he came as the Savior of the world. The gospel of John describes Jesus as the light of the world who enlightens everyone and the life-giver who provides the way to become children of God through the new birth of baptism.
The liturgical color for Epiphany is green, the symbol of life, growth, and eternity (evergreens). Epiphany symbols include light, candles, stars, a crown, gifts, and the globe. Epiphany is a time for reaching out and “showing” Jesus as the Savior of all people. It’s also a time to be involved in Christian community and to heal divisions.
For the Epiphany season, St. Barnabas worship space is oriented to the high windows with their light and view of the sky. The font is at the entry to the worship space, to remind us that we come into the family of God through baptism. The cross is straight ahead, with altar and pulpit to either side—the Word and Sacrament of Holy Communion, both of which are “means of God’s grace” through which God is revealed and is present with us. The chairs in somewhat of a semicircle suggest the gathered community of faith. The service we are using includes hymns from many nations as indicated in the worship bulletins.
A hymn has the words: “Rise, shine you people, Christ our Lord has entered our human story . . . .” An appropriate Epiphany invitation is “Come, let us walk in the light of Christ!” And to quote another song, we are encouraged to take “this little light of mine” which is a gift from God, and “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” As the Bible verse quoted at baptism commissions us, in words of Jesus: “Let your light so shine before others that they see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father!”