Epiphany +2: Resurrection Wine

A weekly Epiphany devotional post for these 8 weeks of witness. Join us!

You can read here for a brief description of the liturgical season of Epiphany, and see previous Epiphany daybook 2019 posts here. Blessed Epiphany, friends!

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


Look: Epiphany in the New Jerusalem, Jyoti Sahi

( Source )

This year, as I’ve been meditating on the first miracle of Christ at the Wedding of Cana, I’ve been caught up in the sheer unnecessary joy of this act. Like Christ couldn’t help but add to the beauty of the day with full-bodied wine from plain well water. Like Jesus looks at the faces of the wedding guests and sees the friends he’ll feast with again at a wedding day yet-to-come. Like he wants a fruity swallow of resurrection wine before stepping into the crowds of diseased and possessed, hungry and thirsty, offended and furious. He wants to ingest a beauty that’ll linger in the back of this throat during the journey ahead of him that ends with drops of sour vinegar on his parched tongue.

Like, here’s a little sip of the celebration headed our way. Pour another round on me, friends, and let’s raise to the Founder of the Feast!

I love this Sunday in the liturgical calendar so much. Mazel Tov!


Listen: “Water to Wine” from Oak & Apple, Wilder Adkins

Spotify | YouTube

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Epiphany - Good Wine & Wedding Feasts. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.”

*

”How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.”

*
”Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

*

”On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
— Isaiah 62:3-5 * Psalm 36:7-9 * 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 * John 2:1-11 (ESV)


Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the
Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1), using the Psalm selections for Morning Prayer.


Pray:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

Do:

Muslim family having dinner on the floor

Eat with friends

We happen to be attending a wedding this week. How perfectly timely! If you don’t have the fortune of an actual wedding to attend, this is a good week to gather together for a meal with family or friends. Linger over food and wine. Savor the beauty of flavors and the joy of conversation. Take a risk and plan a few toasts for the occasion, or shove the couch aside and dance in candlelight.

For one meal, put aside the sorrows and concerns for a couple of hours to practice the celebration that is our inheritance in the kingdom. Mazel Tov!

You can find other activities for Epiphany at this post: 12+ Ways To Keep Celebrating With the Rest of the World (loads of links)


(See all Epiphany Daybook posts from 2018 here.)

On the Seventh Day of Christmas: Savor the Feast of New Year's Eve

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO GET TO VIDEO HOME PAGE:  FEAST BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO GET TO VIDEO HOME PAGE: FEAST BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ

Just yesterday I caught myself downloading a fasting app on my phone. You heard me right. On the fifth day of Christmas, I thought I should start fasting. At one level, it makes sense. We’ve been consuming a whole lot of sugar, meat, and delicious ginger beer/vodka drinks and not a whole lot of vegetables. My body was probably trying to tell me something. How perfectly human of me to download an app to remind me not to eat for 12-16 hours rather than just walking to the fridge for some carrots and celery.

If you’ve been around here any number of years, you’ve heard me quote my Mama every Christmastide: “While we feast, we savor.” I’ve also shared one of my top lessons since following the liturgical calendar: In some ways celebration requires more discipline than sober contemplation.

Add to that a mild to severe case of post-family-visit blues and I subconsciously attempted to hit the Christmastide eject button before it was even half over.

Today’s New Year’s Eve. Maybe you’ve got a whole lot of goals that you plan to kickstart tomorrow, the first day of 2019. That’s fine. But for today, let’s keep feasting. Here’s five more clips plus one playlist highlighting the joy of festive celebration. Cheers!

p.s., I’ll be checking into that intermittent fasting app after January 6, the Feast of Epiphany!

Watch:

  1. Feast, Matt Zoller Seitz for the Museum of Moving Image

    (Technically, this video was made for Thanksgiving, but I love it for Christmastide as well. If you can’t get it to play from this post, click the link here to go to the original page. If you like food and movies, you’ll be glad you did.)

  2. Happy New Year, Orange Mobile

  3. Grilled Shrimp with Peanuts and Lime, Tiger In A Jar

  4. How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Board, Bon Appétit

  5. Dark Moon, Bon Appétit

  6. 10 Vintage New Year’s Eve Movies - 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, (I’dd add When Harry Met Sally for the 90s!)

Listen: my New Year’s Eve playlist on Spotify


Leader: To gather joyfully is indeed a serious affair, for feasting and all enjoyments gratefully taken are, at their heart, acts of war.

People: In celebrating this feast we declare that evil and death, suffering and loss, sorrow and tears, will not have the final word.

But the joy of fellowship, and the welcome and comfort of friends new and old, and the celebration of these blessings of food and drink and conversation and laughter are the true evidences of things eternal, and are the first fruits of that great glad joy that is to come and that will be unending.

So let our feast this day be joined to those sure victories secured by Christ.
Let it be to us now a delight, and a glad foretaste of his eternal kingdom.
Bless us, O Lord, in this feast.

Bless us, O Lord, as we linger over our cups, And over tables laden with good things, as we relish the delights of varied texture and flavor,
Of aromas and savory spices,
Of dishes prepared as acts of love and blessing,
Of sweet delights made sweeter by the communion of saints.

May this shared meal, and our pleasure in it, bear witness against the artifice and deceptions of the prince of the darkness that would blind this world to hope.
May it strike at the root of the lie that would drain life of meaning, and the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.
May this our feast fall like a great hammer blow against that brittle night,
Shattering the gloom, reawakening our hearts,
stirring our imaginations, focusing our vision
On the kingdom of heaven that is to come
On the kingdom that is promised
On the kingdom that is already, indeed, among us,
For the resurrection of all good things has already joyfully begun.

May this feast be an echo of that great supper of the Lamb,
and a foreshadowing of the great celebration that awaits the children of God.

Where two or more of us are gathered, O Lord, there you have promised to be
And here we are
And so, here are you.
Take joy, O King, in this our feast.
Take joy, O King!

Leader: All will be well!
Participants then take up the cry: All will be well!

Nothing good and right and true will be lost forever. All good things will be restored.
Feast and be reminded!
Take joy, little flock. Take joy!
Let battle be joined!
Let battle be joined!

Now you who are loved by the Father, prepare your hearts and give yourselves wholly to this celebration of joy, to the glad company of saints, to the comforting fellowship of the Spirit, and to the abiding presence of Christ who is seated among us both as our host and as our honored guest, and still yet as our conquering king.
Amen.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, take seat, take feast, take delight!
— Douglas Kaine McKelvey, Every Moment Holy

Do:

Feast in the New Year

 More friends, more feasting, more game-playing, more music.  Savor the excess.

[from my 2013 post: "My Mama’s Rule For Feasting."

“My mother created a rule for feasting years ago. As a family, we'd often be invited into other people's homes for mouth-watering meals, but too many times the dinner conversation revolved around the fattening, unhealthy qualities we consumed. It felt like each dish spooned onto our plate came heaped with sides of shame and guilt.  At her own dinner table, my mother would not tolerate this sort of pious, joy-wrecking conversation.  This is how she taught us her motto for hospitality: While we feast, we savor.

This is no way to feast, friends. Keeping in mind that legalism kills, but order brings life to our family celebrations, Brian and I keep my mother's rule close to heart. While we feast, we savor. At Christmas, we savor every sort of gift - food, music, family, friends, and the boxes and bags we wrap up and hand to each other.  All of it -- the ones we give and the ones we receive -- unearned.  All of it, grace.”


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)

Turning the corner to Christmas (plus, a little early gift from me to you!)

ILLUSTRATIONS FOR A CHRISTMAS CAROL BY YELENA BRYKSENKOVA (SOURCE)

ILLUSTRATIONS FOR A CHRISTMAS CAROL BY YELENA BRYKSENKOVA (SOURCE)

And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Dear friends,

What a joy these past three weeks have been contemplating together the mercy and marvel of the advent of Emmanuel. Every year I battle a sense of futility - that this quiet space is meaningless in the midst of our sometimes frenetic need to get to the cozy, chaotic celebration part of Christmas. Every year the Holy Spirit meets me again in the ancient, sober texts of the prophets and the fierce hope of the people of God. I want to be a woman of fierce hope, and to embrace every spark and glimmer of light that comes down from the Father in word, practice, prayer, and beauty. I want to consume this light until it radiates from the inside out to help push back the darkness in this weary world. 

Every year God meets me through you. I ponder your stories of meeting through these humble blog posts the once and coming again King, and receive them as gifts just as plain as the ones beginning to accumulate under our Christmas tree. That even one other person knows the God of Christ more nearly and dearly this year because of this holy compulsion of mine to sift through each Scripture and song and prayer is the greatest gift. Thank you for walking the Advent road along with me.

We are turning a corner friends. I often daydream that before I publish the final Advent post (just as I do when I'm writing the Lent Daybook posts) I'll hear a trumpet and see Christ descending from the sky, returning to once and for all make all things new. If this does not happen before Christmas Day, we are given the responsibility to celebrate as if He did. This is no postscript to Advent; this is the Main Event! It's time to pull out the stops, and take on the holy calling of Feasting!

Will you join me?

In the past few years, I've written a couple of posts about how our family has learned, failed, and learned again how to keep Christmas well.

12 Ways to Savor the 12 Days of Christmas

Family Liturgies For Christmas & My Mama's Rule For Feasting

Christmas Confessions From An Exhausted Dad {Brian's guest post}

I may or may not post each day through Christmas. Some years I have every post planned and written a month ahead of time, some years I take the series one day at a time, and some years - like this one - my preparation falls somewhere in between. The layout of the posts will look familiar; you could call them Advent Daybook lite.

  • Watch: I find myself ready for a bit less contemplation and a bit more lovely entertainment during feast days so in place of art and song, you’ll find a little video clip or short film (approx. 5 minutes or less) in each post. You could pretend each post is a little digital Christmas gift from me to you.

  • Read & Pray: I’ll include with a bit less fanfare the Scripture reading and prayer for those wanting to stay connected to the daily office lectionary.

  • Do: At the close of each post, I’ll include a simple activity to celebrate each of the 12 Days of Christmas.

If you’d like more playlist goodness for the coming weeks, I offer you the quirky, sometimes kitschy, a little bit emo, and often melancholy playlist I made when we lived so far away from my parents. Now we live far away from other people we love, but the title of the playlist will remain in honor of those first homesick years: Christmas Eve (for my Momma).

And a bit more traditional playlist (but still highlighting the lesser-known music of the season): Christmastide 2018.

For these last hours of Advent, may we know with assurance that He has come, He is coming, and He will come again! Hallelujah!

Tamara

p.s., I would love to hear about your own Advent journey! How has it been for you? Please feel free to drop me a comment below or send me a note

p.p.s., Here’s a little early Christmas gift for you from me. (and especially for my Mom who loves this song so much.)

 

Advent Daybook, 10: Delight

Advent Daybook, 10: Delight

An Advent daybook for these 24 days of prayerful expectation. Join me, won't you?

For an introduction read this post: Advent Daybook explained. You can see previous Advent daybook 2018 posts here.

Look: Christmas Dance, Henri Masson (source)

Listen: Listen: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from A Christmas Cornucopia, Annie Lennox

Read: Psalm 36, Isaiah 5:13-17, 24-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, Luke 21:29-38

Pray: "Father in heaven, we thank you that we may feel your leading, your lordship, for you have blessed us with every spiritual and heavenly gift in Christ. We thank you that we may be among those who receive true life always anew, who praise and glorify you, exulting even in difficult days. For it is just in the difficult days that we need to belong to those who are thankful and joyful, who always find new certainty in their lives. With them may we experience the good you give on earth so that humankind may be blest and come at last into your hands. Amen.” (source)

Do: Enjoy an impromptu chuckle with a friend today.

Read More

Christmas Daybook, 4: Holy Innocents

Welcome to my Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

(source)

(source)

 

He Came Down from Speak Life

Poet and Anglican priest Malcolm Guite writes at his blog the meaning of today's remembrances in the church calendar:

The Holy Innocents (Refugee): "...today, the fourth day of Christmas, is the feast day of the Holy Innocents. It is the day the Church remembers the story, told in Matthew’s Gospel of the appalling cruelty and wickedness of Herod in ordering the massacre of innocent children, in a bid to protect his own power-base. Appalling, but only too familiar. What Herod did then, is still being done by so many present day Herods. This scarred and wounded world is the world into which Jesus was born, the world he came to save, and amongst those brought by his blood through the grave and gate of death and into the bliss of Heaven are those children of Bethlehem who died for his name without ever knowing him. But he knows them, as he knows and loves every child in Syria, and he says of them, to every Herod, ‘Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.’

Guite shares a sonnet titled Refugee in honor of the Feast of Holy Innocents. (Please read; it's profound.) I've chosen to share a short film I discovered last year, featuring another sort of child our society (around the globe) too quickly abandons. In the past few years, several different friends have received the gift of a child with Down Syndrome, and I have grown in my understanding, compassion, and love for what many refer to as #theluckyfew

There's a line from one of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer that Brian and I have clung to in the past year: Enlarge our hearts to love the things that You love, oh God. Today, let's say it this way: Enlarge our hearts to love the people you love, oh God. 

Amen.


Readings for the Feast of Holy InnocentsPsalm 124, Jeremiah 31:15-17, Revelation 21:1-7, Matthew 2:13-18

Prayer for today:

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer

Thanksgiving with a family from my mother's ESL class, 2010.

Thanksgiving with a family from my mother's ESL class, 2010.

Extend Your Family

{an excerpt from my post 12 Ways To Savor the 12 Days of Christmas

The  years we lived in Austin we missed our extended family something terrible at Christmas. Occasionally, we made the financial sacrifice to fly home and that helped a little; at the same time we're glad we've had the opportunity to experience Christmas without family nearby. With twelve whole days to celebrate, we enjoyed spending a few of them with other people who were alone, and try to make that part of our celebrating no matter where we live.

From a Think Christian article I wrote in 2017: "When it comes to hospitality to neighbors, I don’t know anyone more on mission than my parents. Apparently this habit began when they were newly married, living in a high-rise apartment building outside of Washington, D.C. Unsure how to meet their neighbors, they relied on their small-town instinct: share food. I still try to imagine how my mom must have felt, in her early twenties, carrying a freshly baked apple pie to another apartment.

Unsurprisingly, this method worked. My parents became friends with many of their neighbors—some that lasted a lifetime and some who, over coffee and more pie, asked questions about Christ. Last weekend, during a visit home, my mother told a story of the Algerian immigrants she knew from teaching English classes at the local civic association. When she discovered the family had recently moved into her neighborhood, she naturally made them a loaf of bread and delivered it to their door."


(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2016 here.)