Monday, January 1, 2018

Isaiah 60:1-6: Epiphany and Baptism: A Story of Getting Up

Arise, shine! directs the prophet. For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.. The text is the reading from Hebrew scripture for Epiphany B (Isaiah 60:1-6), but the verbs also work well with the neighboring liturgical day, the Baptism of the Lord. One of the things they all have in common is movement.

The magi must actually prepare for and then set out on the journey. If they want to see for themselves, no amount of talking about astronomy or geography or history is going to get the answers they want. They have to get up and go. 

At his baptism, Jesus doesn't stay in/under the water. He must move up from or out of the water. It is as Jesus comes up out of the water that the dove descends and the voice is heard (who hears the heavenly voice depends on which gospel you are reading). 

When people are healed by Jesus, they get up and go back to the work they were doing or they join Jesus on the way. Jesus says things like, "Take up your bed and walk." Even Saul, when blinded on the road to Damascus, gets up off the ground and is led by the hand to Damascus. 

So, too, the people of God must moveArise! Get up! Shine! Reflect the glory of God that shines on you! Now is the time to move.
 "Resurrection" from Vysehrad Gospel. 1085. Prague: Klementium.
But if you don't want to get up now, the day is coming when you must. An African-American spiritual describes the "Great Gettin' Up Morning", the day of judgement that is coming. On that day we are all going to have to get up. Gabriel will blow his silver trumpet to wake the sleeping children. Will you still be asleep? Or will you be on the move?

This week on Art&Faith Matters' Facebook page, see the ominous qualities of Hieronymous Bosch's Adoration of the Magi. Click here.

For other thoughts on the Epiphany readings, click here and here

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