St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church
January 2002
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An Epiphany at the Jordan River

The original Gospel reading for Epiphany, January 6th, was the account of Christ’s baptism at the Jordan River. When Epiphany was first observed in the late 2nd Century it was a remembrance of that baptism. The word epiphany itself means a manifestation or a revealing of something. What was revealed at Christ’s baptism?

First it was a manifestation of the Trinity. After John the Baptist had baptized Jesus “the heavens opened....” (St. Mk. 1:10) The visible and the invisible worlds came together. Time and eternity touched. Heaven and earth met. In that moment the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, was revealed. Standing there at the water’s edge was the eternal Word now become flesh. The voice of the Father was heard saying, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” (St. Mk. 1:11) Not since Mount Sinai had there been such an unveiling of the divine. The Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, took the form of a dove and descended upon Christ.

Not only was the Holy Trinity manifest at Christ’s baptism, but also God’s plan of salvation. St. Augustine paraphrased the words of the Father, “In You I have set my good pleasure; that is to say, by You I am doing what is my pleasure.” The Son came at the Father’s bidding to fulfill His plan.

Why was Jesus baptized? At first John the Baptist objected and did not wish to baptize the Lord. Jesus responded, “For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (St. Mt. 3:15) John’s baptism was a baptism for the remission of sins. Jesus had no need of baptism for repentance since He was sinless. However, it was necessary that Christ identify with humanity. In His baptism He was making that identification. Christ’s baptism became ours as His death and resurrection became ours. St. Paul put it this way, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Ro. 6:1-5)

The Holy Spirit’s power and purity is also a vital part of salvation. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ. The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. It is the Spirit who gives us faith to accept Christ as our Savior. Once conversion has taken place it is the Holy Spirit who works in our hearts to remove actual sin. He does so by changing our desires and giving us the inner power to remove sin from our lives.

Christ’s baptism was indeed an Epiphany. It was a revelation of the Triune God and a manifestation of divine grace. For this we give God thanks.

by Rev. F. M. Levi

Parish News

The ladies of the Woman’s Guild had their annual Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2001. The dinner was very well attended. Thank you to all who came or helped out in any way.

The Rt. Rev. Royal U. Grote paid his annual episcopal visit to St. Andrew’s on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2001. The bishop delivered an inspiring sermon and celebrated Holy Communion. Everyone enjoyed a time of fellowship and refreshments in the parish hall following the service.

The Feast of St. Andrew was observed on Nov. 30, 2001. A pot-luck dinner was held at 6:30 p.m., followed by a worship service at 7:30 p.m.. The offering went to World Relief to help the needy.

Missionary of The Month

Sue Brodish
Christian Kindergarten
Siebenburgener Weg 16
34613 Schwalmstadt-1

Domestic Missions

Pray for Missionary clergy of the Missionary Diocese: the Rev. Ken Harmen, the Rev. Milton Hood, the Rev. Richard Jones, the Rev. Dr. Lowell Saunders.

In Memory

Margaret Lindee, age 82, passed away Dec. 5, 2001. She is survived by her two sons and one daughter and their families. Our sympathies are extended to the family.

Happy Birthday!

Jan. 6 - Elaine Spencer
Jan. 8 - Shirley Drobnak
Jan. 11 - Laura Ann Sutton
Jan. 11 - Henry Leenstra
Jan. 15 - Linda Zaleski
Jan. 18 - Janet Marie Toomey
Jan. 18 - Caroline Elizabeth Robertson
Jan. 26 - David Sutton
Jan. 27 - Paul Christenson
Jan. 28 - Phil Smith

A New Year

by Helen Kitchell Evans

Steadily the old year passes;

Another year arrives again.

Will it bring a better way

To stamp out greed in hearts of men?

Another year extended to us

By our Lord’s amazing grace;

Another chance to overcome

The problems of our human race.

Another year of striving

To find a way for peace;

Another chance for planning

How to make wars cease.

Another year; the time flies on!

The rate is ever faster!

Let us cherish every hour

As we try to serve our Master.

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