Reading Jerusalem presented as God’s daughter and seeing and hearing the words, “your God is in your midst,” I can’t help but to read with early Christian writers and the continuing Church who read Mary’s pregnancy through Zephaniah’s prophecy. However, an Israelite or later Jewish reader or hearer would understand that the prophecy is about God’s enduring presence with her people in every circumstance, enslavement, exile, liberation, return and renewal. Epiphany celebrates the many ways God makes herself known to us for example, gathering the outcast in the first lesson. The psalmist prays for that kind of epiphany, that God would make her “wondrous faithful love known.” The author of the epistle has a much more narrow view of the way in which God reveals Godself but observes that everything God has made is good making possible a reading of God made known to us through all of creation. In the gospel, Jesus reveals he is God in the flesh with every miraculous touch and every act of embodied love; sometimes, the two are the same.
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