Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Like a Dog


Not long after we moved to Chambersburg, we decided to adopt a dog to round out the household. (Apparently three children and two cats weren't enough under one roof.) Oliver came from a local rescue shelter. He fits right in now and is a force to be reckoned with in our family. One thing for sure, Oliver is unwavering in his faithfulness, love, and devotion.  I know this is not a unique quality in our dog Oliver. Yet it remains a constant reminder of what pure unconditional love looks like. No matter what, every time I return home and enter the house through the back door into our kitchen, Oliver is right there to greet me with kisses and a wet nose. 

In the gospel reading for this day of the Epiphany of our Lord, we hear that the wise men from the east have come to greet Jesus:
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”  (Matthew 1:1-2, NRSV)
The Greek word that is translated homage is προσκυνέω (proskynéō, pros-koo-neh'-o).  It means to kiss, (like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):—worship.

The Three Magi: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar 
from a late 6th century mosaic 
at the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in RavennaItaly

What would it look like for us to pay homage to our Lord and King, Jesus the Christ? What gifts can we offer in this Light that no darkness can overcome?

This coming Sunday, the church observes The Baptism of Our Lord.  As we remember Christ's baptism, we also remember our own and give thanks for the gifts that each of us has been given. Chiefly, we remember that we have been adopted and rescued. We have been given the gift of grace that has called us through the waters of baptism to walk as children of the Light. How might this gracious gift of new life shape and inspire our worship and the ways we offer our homage?

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates Epiphany with multiple baptisms.

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