Epiphany Joy

Are you part of a congregation that gives out “Star Words” on Epiphany to each person? A “star word” is just that – a word like “hope” or “determination” written on a star to be displayed in the home. The word is to provide encouragement in the daily grind from Epiphany of one year to Epiphany of the next year. I’ve never done this with my congregations, but I usually pick a word for myself every year. Sometimes my words were “stupid” or “why?” just because of what was going in life. Last year, my word was “care” from self and family care to congregational care. But this year is all about “Joy!”

At Bethlehem Lutheran Church – Twin Cities, where I serve as the pastor of family ministry, we have a sermon series for Epiphany entitled Unfolding Joy. Why unfolding? Because Joy is not a switch we get to turn on when we choose, it’s a gift that evolves with every experience of Jesus alive in the world. Check it out:

Sunday, January 3 – Epiphany Joy: The super star is in the sky, and it stops over the roof where Baby Jesus is found. For the wise people, they found the “ah-ha”moment of Epiphany, and its joy lights up the sky! (Matthew 2:1-12)

How many stars can count? Remember there are stars within stars! Can you find the three wise people?

Sunday, January 10 – Joy in Being Named: Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, and God calls him “Beloved!” In the waters of our own baptisms, God’s love is poured out onto us, and we, too, are named “Beloved!” What a joy-filled name! (Mark 1:4-11)

Sunday, January 17 – The Joy of Invitation: Jesus invites Phil and Nate to “come and see” and “follow me!” Jesus makes invitation look so easy, but for many of us faithful invitation is scary work. How might we come out of our comfort zones to see that inviting others into the joy of faith is really just an extension of ourselves? (John 1:43-51)

Sunday, January 24 – The Joy of Following: Constantly making decisions can be an exhausting task. Sometimes, it is nice to just be a follower. Jesus instructs the disciples that they will “fish for people.” For us today, sometimes we “fish,” and when we need a break, we can just “follow!” (Mark 1:14-20)

Sunday, January 31 – The Joy of Being Heard: Jesus was in the temple at Capernaum when a possessed man speaks out about who Jesus is – the Son of God. Jesus heard the demon, and he casted it out of the man. That’s called being heard, and one can imagine the joy this man experienced. (Mark 121-28)

Children’s Seek and Find Coming Soon

Sunday, February 7 – The Joy of Searching: Every where Jesus goes, there is a crowd. People search for Jesus to heal them or to cast out a demon, and yet Jesus seeks out solitude to pray. Joy can be found in the searching for both.

Children’s Seek and Find Coming Soon

Sunday, February 14 – The Joy of Being Changed: From the inside out, that’s where Jesus starts. We might not glimmer and shine as he did on Transfiguration Sunday, but we are changed for the good, and the change all starts in our hearts. (Mark 9:2-9)

Children’s Seek and Find Coming Soon

Building off “The Joy of Being Changed,” I am looking ahead to Lent on something called “Game Changers.” For families, there will be a card game, a board game, and a devotional called “Game On!” So you don’t miss out, follow my blog with your email address! Stay tuned.

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