Canon to help St. Andrew's mark event

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“The First Sunday After the Epiphany – The Baptism of our Lord” will be celebrated in a special way at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Harriman on Jan. 8.

The Rev. Canon Stephen Askew, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee, will be the celebrant at the 10 a.m. Eucharist.

Jan. 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany, is one of the oldest of the Christian feasts. It commemorates the Three Kings’ journey to Bethlehem with their gifts.  

Since the word Epiphany means “manifestation” or “to reveal,” this is the feast of God’s showing His Son to the World.  It celebrates the “shining forth” or revelation of God to mankind in human form in the person of Jesus Christ.

The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches and originally celebrated four different events:  the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist which will be celebrated at St. Andrew’s on Sunday; Christ’s first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana; the Nativity of Christ; and the visitation of the Wise Men or Magi.  

The feast was initially based on — and viewed as — a fulfillment of the Jewish Feast of Lights.   

Over time the Western churches decided to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25.  This has given rise to the notion of a 12-day festival starting on Dec. 25, the revelation of Christ to Israel on his birth, and ending on Jan. 6 with the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles at Epiphany.  

On the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, the Church will celebrate heralding the beginning of Jesus’ public life: the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, where he showed openly His divine power.

In the Middle Ages the kings were given the familiar names, Casper, Melchoir and Balthasar.  The Fathers of the Church interpreted their gifts mystically as symbols of Christ’s Kingship (gold), the Divinity (frankincense, because it was used for worship in the temple); and His mortal Humanity (myrrh, because it was used in the burial of the dead.)

The public is welcome to attend this service. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is at 190 Circle Drive. Call 882-1272 for details.