Leslie and I are back after an extended long stay in North Carolina. We had traveled the day after Christmas to be with Leslie’s ninety-seven year-old dad who lived in a Senior Apartment in High Point, North Carolina. After the second night with him we ended up staying with Hampton in a Winston Salem, North Carolina hospital and then a nearby Hospice Care Home, until his death on January 6. The occasion was the Epiphany of Our Lord and this year it fell on a Sunday.

I liked to refer to him as my Father-in-Love. Ernest Hampton Morgan, everyone called him Hampton, was a World War II decorated veteran. His funeral was at New Philadelphia Moravian Church where he was a member. His burial, likely in early May, will be in Arlington National Cemetery in our Nation’s Capitol.

We wish to thank you for your prayers and loving support. Tom Rislow and Jeremy Schoonover were kind and generous to lead worship and provide good Scriptural messages in my absence. Had I missed a third Sunday, Pastor Dave Steffenson had offered to come to ensure with his presence as a Pastor that the congregation would be able to celebrate Holy Communion. You were so kind to pick up the slack. And the family was touched by your expression of love in providing flowers for the Visitation and Funeral Service.

Being gone so long from the congregation I serve, my longest absence from the parish since my ordination thirty-five years ago, was difficult. Leslie and I enjoyed the time with so much of Leslie’s side of the family, but we both agreed it was hard to be away from our congregation family. Although tired and emotionally spent, we found a great deal of comfort and strength last Sunday in receiving your hugs, and to hear your support and love spoken. And as always, we find so much encouragement in the Divine Service and our great “hymn singing” congregation. Thanks!

Since You Asked…

What is the significance of the Epiphany and the Season that follows?

The word Epiphany means “manifestation” or “a revealing”. Since light helps to reveal and make manifest, on January 6 we recall the Magi led by the light of the star to the manger to worship Jesus, “the Light of the World” given birth by Mary. We will go on in the Season that follows to commemorate the manifestation of the Trinity at Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River, where the voice of the Father spoke, and the Holy Spirit descended and alighted on Jesus as he came forth from the river. The voice identifies Jesus as God’s Son in whom the Father is well pleased. The Season after the Epiphany closes with the Transfiguration whereby a future glimpse of the Resurrected glory of Christ was revealed.