Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sermon: Thursday of Septuagesima

27 January 2005 at Chapel of Lutheran High School, Metairie, LA

Text: Matt 20:1-16

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

There’s an old saying: “Rank has its privileges.” This is why first class passengers get to eat on fine china while the rest of us are lucky to get a stale bag of pretzels. This is why seniors get to park in the back lot, while all the other students have to hit the bricks. This is why teachers get to grow beards, but stubbly-faced students are given detentions, or charged a dollar for a plastic razor, and told to come back with a smooth baby-face. Rank has its privileges, indeed. Life really isn’t fair at all. But how about God?

Surely, we can expect God to be fair. But is he? Of course, if anyone can expect to pull rank and enjoy privileges the rest of us don’t have, it must be God. So he does run a fair universe? Is God an impartial judge, or does he play favorites? Does God give everyone what they deserve, or does he treat some people better than others?

As much as our flesh would like to think otherwise, God is not fair at all. He has his pets, and he shamelessly takes care of them, getting them out of trouble, and letting them even, in some cases, get away with murder. In the words of the ancient hymn called the Te Deum Laudamus, and based on Holy Scripture, Jesus will be our judge on the final day. But this judge is also our attorney. By the way, he is also the jury. Look at what a crooked courtroom God runs! Imagine this, the defense attorney gets to be the judge and the jury! The prosecutor doesn’t have a chance. By the way, the prosecutor is Satan. And there is no higher authority, no Supreme Court, he can appeal to. He can cry “injustice” all he wants, but God simply continues to bend justice in favor of his cronies.

Of course, being one of God’s cronies doesn’t always mean you will be treated fairly, at least according to our standards. In the Old Testament, God allowed Joseph to be kidnapped by his jealous brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, spending many years in a prison cell. God allowed this good man to suffer. In the end, Joseph’s suffering saved the children of Israel from famine – but God does have a strange notion of right and wrong, doesn’t he? He says: “My ways are not your ways.” Yeah. Ain’t that the truth?

And how about poor John the Baptist? You will not find a more faithful preacher. Jesus calls him the greatest man born of a woman. And yet, John finds himself in a dungeon to be beheaded. Where is God’s justice? It’s no wonder so many of the Psalms cry out to God, asking him why he doesn’t punish the wicked. Sometimes it seems as if evil runs unchecked, and one has to even wonder if God enjoys it sometimes. If God is fair, I defy anyone to explain why our dear friend and brother Brandon Fury has had to endure month after month of medical treatments. He has done nothing to deserve any of this, and I have done nothing to deserve not to be in his situation.

Now consider our text in which Jesus tells a story about workers and pay. The bottom line is this: the boss gave everybody the same salary – no matter how long they worked. Those who slaved away in the hot sun for 12 hours got a denarius. Those who showed up an hour before quitting time got a denarius. If a boss today did such a thing, his workers would be organizing a labor union and suing him for being unfair. And yet, Jesus tells us this story in order to tell us what God is like.

So what gives? Why is God so unfair?

The unfairness of God reached its peak when the only truly innocent man who ever lived was allowed to be put on trial by amoral religious leaders and politicians, flogged by sadistic soldiers, mocked by a bloodthirsty mob, and finally nailed to a cross and executed by a corrupt imperial government on behalf of all of us – sinful people who reject the living God every day of our lives. As we sin, day after day, year after year, we join the mob in yelling “crucify him!” We drive the nails. We spit on him. We plunge the spear into his side. God allowed his only begotten Son, whom he loves, to suffer like this. And thanks be to God that God is so unfair! For this is why we call it “Good” Friday.

For by virtue of this sacrifice, we who deserve death and damnation, we who have earned the fires of hell, receive a pardon. We are unfairly let off the hook. By faith, we who believe are all “Rabbi’s Pets.” Even though we grieve him when we sin, even though we disappoint him, he continues to pardon our sins. When we repent and seek forgiveness for our sins, our unfair God looks the other way and spares us the punishment we deserve. And who are we to complain when someone else gets a break? We’re quick to complain about “unfairness” those rare times when “fairness” would benefit us, but we’re even quicker to ask for God to be “unfair” with us when we deserve to be punished.

There’s a word for this kind of unfairness. It’s called “mercy.” This is why we poor miserable sinners find such comfort in God’s unfairness. This is why we pray again and again: “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”

And let us not be afraid or ashamed to “pull rank.” For by the Sonship of Jesus, we too are children of God. This is why we are so bold to pray to God as “Our Father.” And our Father runs the universe. Rank indeed has privileges. The greatest privilege is to be a baptized child of God, one of God’s chosen, one of the Great Teacher’s pets, one who is indeed treated unfairly. Where we deserve death, we receive life. Where we deserve condemnation, we receive pardon. God is absolutely unfair. Thanks be to God!

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sermon: Baptism of Leonidas Beane

2nd Sunday after Epiphany, January 16, 2005

at East Jefferson General Hospital, Metairie, Louisiana

Text: John 2:1-11

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Leo. Happy Birthday.

I say this twice because you have two birthdays. Yesterday, you emerged from the safety and tranquillity of the watery womb into a raucous world filled with sights and sounds you could not have imagined in your former life. And if that weren’t enough, today, you were drowned in water and were reborn, risen with Christ to yet another birth. You emerged from the raucous world filled with sin, misery, and death into a tranquil world, an eternal world, a sin-free world that none of us can even imagine in this life, on this side of the resurrection. In this second birth, you join all of us in the “now” of the Christian life, and in the “not yet” of its completion. Whereas I had to wait 18 years between my first and second births, you, Leonidas Martin Gregory Beane, have the blessing of God to experience the miracle of birth twice in two days. Happy Birthday, and again I say, Happy Birthday. Now you are truly alive. Welcome to the real world.

Your mother and I are honored and humbled to be instruments in your creation. God used us as his ministers of the sacrament of earthly life. You were procreated, made incarnate, from our love for one another. Until yesterday, not one second of your existence were you not physically touching your mother. This privilege of mothers is like no other in God’s universe. And I have the privilege to baptize you into your second birth – being God’s unworthy and humble instrument, a priestly minister of the sacrament of life from above, authorized to act in the person of Christ (though I’m sure over the years you will wonder how one such as I can speak with such authority). I have the distinct honor of being your father twice over – biologically and spiritually.

Today is the second Sunday after Epiphany. In our Gospel text, our Lord turns ordinary water into something miraculous: wine. And wine is the very substance he would later change into something even more miraculous – his Holy Blood, by which he saves us. He began with water contained in stone jars used for ritual purification, and he blessed this water – making it truly pure by his presence. Thus he fulfills the law. Similarly, Leonidas, our Lord purified the water in this humble font – a bowl of crystal given to your mother and me for our wedding by your grandmother. Our Lord has blessed our union with a child – making our union truly pure and complete by his presence. Similarly, he fulfills the law on your behalf, presenting the wine of his blood and the water from his pierced side to you as a gift, and cleansing you from all your sins, making you truly pure and complete by his presence. You are even made pure of that which you have inherited from your parents and grandparents all the way back to Adam and Eve. We have indeed saved the good wine until now, my dear son!

You have the distinction of perhaps being the only Lutheran you may ever meet who was baptized in Latin. An English priest named Ronald Knox was once asked to conduct a baptism in English. He declined, saying: “The baby does not understand English, and the devil knows Latin.” Fr. Knox understood what Christians have always understood – baptism is really a form of exorcism. In Baptism, our Lord conquers Satan yet again, rescuing another beloved lamb from death and hell. The western church had spoken the baptismal formula in Latin for many centuries. And while the words are just as powerful in any language, it must give Satan horrific flashbacks to hear the words of our Lord spoken in the same way as they have been millions of times over in the past. For in a sense, baptism is addressed to the devil – just as the first Gospel was spoken to him in the Garden of Eden. This is why we opened this service by exorcising you, my son. Hopefully, by the time you are my age, this once-common practice will again be fully restored among our people.

Now regarding your name: your mother and I have a great appreciation for history, and a love for the saints and heroes of the church - as well as for people who have defended freedom throughout the ages. Leonidas is a name that honors the great Spartan king who stood defiantly against a tyrannical emperor at the Battle of Thermopylae. It is also the name of a Christian martyr (St. Leonidas, the father of Origin). Leonidas literally means “son of the lion” or “son of Leon” – and Leon is my middle name and that of your paternal grandfather. Leonidas Polk was also a man of courage, as well as a churchman: the first Episcopal bishop of Louisiana and a Confederate general who died in the cause of Southern Independence. The short form, Leo, pays tribute to Pope St. Leo the Great, who articulated the two natures of Christ at the Council of Chalcedon.

Your name Martin is a tribute not only to St. Martin of Tours and Blessed Martin Luther the Reformer, but also to your maternal grandfather. Gregory is the name of heroic theologians of the East and West: Sts. Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus, as well as Pope St. Gregory the Great, a bishop of Rome who left the church a legacy of liturgical chant and wise pastoral counsel.

We chose your name very carefully, Leo. But the greatest name you received today has nothing to do with Spartan kings, Confederate generals, popes, bishops, reformers, and grandparents – but rather the Name of Jesus Christ. For today, you have taken the most important name of all: “Christian”: heir of eternal life and a true son of the Father. You received the Name of the Holy Trinity today, and that trumps every name – for at this Name, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Your first birth took place on the Saturday of the week of the Baptism of our Lord. In that Gospel text, our Lord Jesus Christ was also baptized with water as the Triune God was manifested in this miraculous work. And the voice of God the Father rang out from the heavens and proclaimed, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” So also has your Father in heaven spoken these words even as they are spoken in a less lofty way by me. You are a beloved son twice over – son of God the Father, and my beloved son as well. And we are very pleased indeed.

So once again, my son, happy birthday, happy birthday. Your mother and I, your extended family, and every member of the communion of saints throughout history look forward to life with you that will have no end. Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Sermon: Epiphany

6 January 2005 at Chapel of Lutheran High School, Metairie, LA

Text: Matt 2:1-12

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

There is an ancient Hebrew hymn called “The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler.

Okay, it’s not really ancient, but it sure is funny, and we get to hear it every year around Christmas-time. The song points out famous people who are Jewish, who celebrate Hanukkah. And who would have thought so many words rhyme with Hanukkah? Adam Sandler compares it to Christmas this way: “Hanukkah is the festival of lights, Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.” With all due respects to this genuinely funny comedian, Christmas is really much more than “one day of presents.” In fact, today, January 6, marks the end of Christmas – which is really a 12-day celebration.

This explanis the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – although the nonsense about partridges and five golden rings has nothing to do with the Christian faith. The story floating around that the parts of that song are a secret confession of Christianity during persecution is just an “urban legend.” It’s a great story, but it just isn’t true. Those of you who are my students know – or should know – to check things like this out at

But while “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is no more Christian than Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song,” it does serve as a reminder that Christmas is a season, not merely a day. The Christian Christmas is truly different, and more meaningful, than WalMart’s Christmas.

While the day after Christmas the stores are already tearing down their Christmas displays and moving on to Valentine’s Day, and while many people chuck their Christmas trees to the curb before they turn the page of the calendar, the Christian celebration of the incarnation of God in the form of a man continues for several weeks. Today, the day after the twelfth day of Christmas, is known as the Epiphany. This is a Greek word that means “a showing.”

From his conception, through his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection, Jesus is constantly showing us, giving us epiphanies, of who he is. Like Hansel and Gretl, Jesus drops breadcrumb-like clues to show himself to us and to the world. And sometimes the breadcrumbs he drops are more like atomic bombs. Jesus showed himself to be God when he changed water into wine, healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. He epiphanied himself as he was baptized, and as he preached and gave out the Lord’s Supper. He was shown for the God that he is when he was transfigured on the mountain, and glowed with dazzling bright light. Our Lord’s epiphanies came to a peak when he gave his life for us on the cross, and while dying there, pronouncing our sins to be forgiven, and then rose gloriously from the dead. The whole world has seen this unique Man show himself to us. It was a great epiphany when our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, asked St. Thomas to place his finger in the holes in his side and in his hands. Thomas received this epiphany, this showing of who Jesus is, with a confession: “My Lord and my God!”

Today, on the day we call “The Feast of the Epiphany,” our Lord shows himself in a different way, a mysterious way, a way which brings hope to you, to me, and to the entire world. There is no dazzling light beaming from his face – although a light leads the wise men to the infant Jesus. There is no bombastic miracle of a dead man walking around – only the quiet miracle of God wriggling in swaddling cloths. There is no mystical meal in which God takes bread and wine and declares them to be his Body and Blood, only a seemingly ordinary act of a baby nursing. And Jesus, at this epiphany, doesn’t say “Father, forgive them,” and yet, by his very presence, the baby Jesus brings forgiveness of sins to the entire world, to all nations, to Gentiles and Jews alike.

For it was indeed shown to the wise men, to Gentiles who lived hundreds of miles away, who this Jesus was, is, and forever will be. This is God himself. Yet this God has a mother. This is the Eternal One – and yet this God has taken on mortal flesh, and will die. This is the Almighty, and yet this God must wear diapers, for his weakness is even such that he can’t control his own body.

Dear Christian friends, this is the miracle itself. That God loves us enough to send his only begotten Son into the flesh – vulnerable, helpless, and ultimately, to die in our place, for us. And then, to rise again. This is the ultimate epiphany. God isn’t showing us his might and power. God isn’t creating a flood that destroys the whole world. God isn’t creating a universe and destroying worlds with a blast from his nostrils. No, the miracle is not “our God is an awesome God,” but rather, our God is one of us, an infant. And this infant is also a priest – a priest who not only goes to God on our behalf, but is God himself. A priest who not only knows of our humanity, but shares in it.

God knows what it means to be human – the struggles each of us experience: temptation, hunger, sadness, and death itself. He knows, because he took all of these on himself. And he did so to save us – from sin, death, and the power of the devil. And this Messiah is not only a savior of the Jewish race, but even of these distant wise men, these astrologers to whom our Lord was revealed by the Old Testament. Jesus is the savior of all people, regardless of race, language, sex, or station in life. The wise men understood this epiphany, this showing. For they not only gave the Baby-King gifts of material wealth, they also presented themselves as gifts to the Baby-God – bowing to him in holy worship. The were reverent in the presence of their God. Since God showed to them undeserved mercy, they showed their thanks to him as quiet respect and reverent worship.

This Day of Epiphany links Christmas – the miraculous birth of our Lord – to his passion and death. For even as we begin the Carnival season today with the Epiphany (perhaps even with the showing of the Christ Child in king cakes), our joyous celebrations end at Mardi Gras. For the day after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday – beginning yet another 40-day journey with Jesus, a journey of repentance and self-examination to the cross that culminates in the empty tomb.

Although he didn’t mean to, Adam Sandler missed the point of Christmas. But he is right that Christmas is about gifts – but it isn’t only one day. And in reality, it isn’t even only about 12 days. Christmas is about gifts that we receive over and over again, from God himself – even unto eternity. We receive baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Holy Absolution, and the preaching of the Gospel again and again. We receive forgiveness of all our sins over and over. We fall down, and our God-Man picks us up, time and again. And we receive everlasting life and communion with him who showed himself to the wise men, and to us, as a gentle baby on a mission to lay down his life for us. This epiphany is a showing of God as love beyond all love.

May this holy love of Jesus continue to show itself to you, and through you to others. And may the divine love of our Lord Jesus Christ surround you and keep you unto eternity. Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Sermon: Epiphany (Transferred)

2 January 2005 at Gloria Dei L.C.

Text: Matt 2:1-12 (Isa 60:1-6; Eph 3:1-12) (Historic)

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Today, we celebrate the Epiphany. This is a Greek word that means “manifestation,” or a “showing” of something. We usually use this word in English to mean something that very suddenly pops into our heads: that moment when everything clicks, the “aha” experience. Maybe you’ve been wrestling with a very difficult problem: a math equation, a puzzle, a mystery novel. You think and think until your brain hurts. Then it all hits you – usually at 3:00 in the morning. “Aha!” The answer comes to you from nowhere.

Or maybe you suddenly come to the conclusion that you have been headed in the wrong direction. Something happens that makes it clear as day, that you must repent and change direction. And when such epiphanies happen, you wonder how you could have missed it all this time. It’s like a missing puzzle piece drops into place, and suddenly everything comes together.

The Festival of the Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the 6th day of January (which we are transferring to today) is something like that. Our Gospel text is a “Great Aha,” a stunning revelation, a bolt of lightning which makes everything bright and clear about who Jesus is. It is the account of the wise men, the magi, who were on a quest to find the great King, and they found him, manifested, shown, epiphanied as a helpless infant.

These wise men were probably Persian or Babylonian. They seem to have had contact with the prophecies of the Old Testament – probably since there were Jews living there from the Babylonian exile. The wise men were also astrologers, and an unusual star led them on this journey. They knew the baby King was a Jew, but they also knew something else: “we have come to worship him,” they said. Worship is only something offered to divinity, to God. These wise men were looking for, in the words of the Epiphany hymn: “God in flesh made manifest.” This search was obviously important to them in order for them to leave everything and travel by beast of burden and on foot several hundred miles in order to experience this epiphany.

The wise men were traveling based on faith. And think about how remarkable their faith was! These were Gentiles. They had no blood relation to the baby King of the Jews. They did not live in the holy land. In fact, they were considered unclean by the Jews. In spite of all of this, they made this extraordinary journey to find the promised King and to fall on their knees before him, presenting him gifts fit for royalty. Somehow, it was revealed to them, it was made manifest, it was shown to them that this Messiah would be a blessing not only to the Jews, but to all the nations as well. And like Abraham two millennia earlier, they left a faraway country in the east to set out to find the promised land, a land where the Promise himself was being made manifest, epiphanied to them and to the whole world, in the flesh.

But not everyone in the world was thrilled with the news. For on the throne of the Jews sat an imposter, a half-breed, a political hack, a Roman puppet king named Herod. Herod was the pretender sitting on Jesus’s throne. And like all pretenders, all fakes, all impostors, he became uneasy when people began speaking of the real king, the rightful heir. Herod conspires with his lackeys in the clergy, who consulted with Scripture, and laid out the unpleasant epiphany to the so-called King Herod. So hell-bent was Herod on preserving his bogus rule, that he would attempt to use these remarkable visitors, the magi, as pawns in a murder plot. Herod wanted the magi to lead him to the true King, not so that he might worship him (as he claimed), but rather so that he might snuff him out. And even when this plan was thwarted, Herod would seek to keep his throne by the mass murder of babies. In the name of convenience and lifestyle maintenance, people can even be convinced to take the life of helpless infants. For centuries, the Church has remembered these baby-martyrs on the 28th of December, a day that has taken on a new and sobering meaning in this country since the legalization of infanticide in 1972.

But Herod’s diabolical plan would not snuff out the true King. For Herod’s wicked scheme was made manifest, was epiphanied to the magi in a dream. And to their joy, the star reappeared, and led them to the Christ-child. And this, dear Christian friends, was the greatest epiphany experienced by the magi, for they gazed with their own eyes upon their God. They knelt in worship, and offered all that they had, gifts of created things given in love to their Creator. They gave him gold fit for a kingly crown (though this king would wear thorns). They gave him frankincense fit for a priest, though this Priest would be surrounded by the stench of death. They gave him myrrh, fit for the anointing of a prophet, although this Prophet would be anointed with his own bloody sweat. And having seen their God face to face, “God in flesh made manifest,” the helpless Almighty King, they returned home – different than they were when they left. For being in the physical presence of Jesus Christ, they had an epiphany.

These Gentiles were not to be left out of God’s long-standing promises to the children of Israel. Far from it. At the end of the Sunday liturgy, we often sing about Jesus as “a light to reveal you to the nations,” the word “nations” meaning literally in the Greek: “Gentiles.” This is the same Light, the uncreated Light, spoken of in our Old Testament lesson. Isaiah prophesies: “Arise, shine, for your light has come!” And this manifested light is nothing less than the “Glory of the Lord.” This is the very same light that shone as a pillar of fire above the Ark of the Covenant. And Isaiah promises that the Gentiles would indeed come to this light. And furthermore, this light would reflect off of them, and glorify them, and bless them, causing hearts to swell with joy! This is the “joyous light of glory” that brings salvation to the world, to Jew and Gentile alike. And Isaiah saw that the Gentiles would indeed bring gold and incense and offer them in praise to the Lord. Jesus is most certainly “God of God, light of light, very God of very God.” Just as Peter, James, and John witnessed a glorious epiphany of blinding light when our Lord was transfigured, the magi also saw his glorious light – in the form of the star that led them to his bodily presence.

And by this incident, it was made manifest to us that the Lord Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of the universe. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. But he is also the enemy of the wicked. We “poor miserable sinners” would stop at nothing to snuff out this Light of the world. Like Herod, we would respond to this epiphany of “God in flesh made manifest” by plotting his murder.

The very same Jesus who lay in the manger would later hang on the cross. The same Jesus who began to breathe air as he emerged from his mother’s body would exhale his dying breath as she watched on helplessly, 33 years later. The same Jesus who would escape one Herod would later be condemned by another Herod, working with Pilate, and Caiphas – not to mention all of us – and would willingly die for all of us sinners who put him on his cross.

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, this is the most painful epiphany of all. Jesus was not condemned merely by a Roman bureaucrat, a handful of sadistic soldiers, a Jewish puppet ruler, corrupt priests, and a bloodthirsty Jewish mob – but rather by all of us. We strike Jesus in the head in mockery every time we sin. We drive in the nails every time we fear, love, and trust in other things before God. We smite him with the barbaric whip every time we use his name in vain. We join the soldiers and the mob in their torture of Jesus every time we cease to hallow the sabbath, despise our parents and other authorities, hurt or harm our neighbor, act and speak in ways that are sexually immoral, behave dishonestly with regard to our neighbors property, gossip, lie, or harm our neighbor’s reputation. And we drive the spear into his side every time we covet our neighbor’s wife or possessions.

This is not a very pleasant epiphany. And yet it is God’s honest truth. The Blood of Jesus is on our hands, but more importantly, dear friends, it is on our tongues. For this is the epiphany to end all epiphanies: Jesus died to give his life as a ransom for us, even for us “poor miserable sinners” who deserve nothing less than present and eternal punishment. The blood that we drew out of our Lord, he freely gives us to our benefit, to drink for our forgiveness, for our life, and for our salvation! The body we racked with pain and death is given to us every Sunday, here at this altar. And this is the most remarkable epiphany of all: the very same body born of Mary, worshipped by the angels and the magi, plotted against by Herod, this same body that worked miracles and was crucified, is the very same body that was raised from the dead, reigns over the universe, and is manifested to us, epiphanied to us, under the humble forms of bread and wine, of water, and of words.

So while the magi could only gaze upon the baby Jesus, maybe even daring to touch his holy body with their unworthy hands, we have a much greater epiphany than they. For his holy Flesh is taken into our unworthy flesh, and his life-giving Blood is drawn into our death-ridden blood. His perfect and eternal righteousness is bonded to our corrupt and mortal sinfulness. His light shines upon us, we who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, we are glorified by his arising over us. This is the mystery Paul speaks of, “revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets.” This is indeed what Paul calls the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”

By virtue of this miracle, this epiphany, we, though unworthy, are able to let our light shine before the world. For in Christ, we have the gift of “boldness, and access with confidence through faith in him.” Bearing this gift of faith, we like the magi can leave this holy place where the Body of Christ is manifested to us, and we can also depart for our own country. And we, the Lord’s unworthy servants, may join Simeon in his song:

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace

Your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

Which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

And the glory of your people Israel.

May our “God in flesh made manifest” bless you with the epiphany of his holy Body and Blood unto life eternal. Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.