Today is the end of our celebration of Epiphany. The Leavetaking, as it is known in the Church, signifies the end of the celebration and the beginning of the next chapter of life. Today, the Church recalls the Baptism of Christ while recalling the beginning of the history of the Church. There is never an end, just another chapter in the life of the Church.
For Orthodox Christians, this next chapter means house blessing season. As the Church reminds us that Christ blessed all of creation when He entered the Jordan, we bless our homes representing our entire lives with Holy Water. Blessing our homes is one way we place our relationship with God at the center of our existence.
In those days, Peter said to the people, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him." And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. – Acts 2.28-43
After Saint Peter preached in Jerusalem about Christ, thousands were baptized and “devoted themselves” to the life of the Church. The end of his sermon was just the beginning of the new chapter in their life. The end of Epiphany is just the beginning of the new chapter in our life, even if we were baptized decades ago. It is never too late to devote ourselves “to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
All three components of Church life were the focus of their daily existence. The learned more about their faith, they enjoyed community as faithful, and they celebrated the Divine Liturgy (breaking of bread) often. Now is our turn to focus on these three aspects of our life. Make a commitment to learn more about your faith in the next weeks. Devote yourself to being part of your Church community by sharing with each other. Finally, make it a priority to be in Church at least every Sunday for Divine Liturgy, and become a person of prayer.
Start by inviting the priest to bless your house. A blessed house become the center of a blessed life.