Members of the Church of the Holy Trinity and local residents gathered in the church parking lot on Wednesday evening to celebrate the feast of Epiphany, which observes the visit of the Three Kings, or Magi, to the baby Jesus.
The Rector of the Holy Trinity, Reverend Andy Andrews, said the theme of the service, called “Light Up the Night,” comes from the early church.
“Light the night comes from the practices of Antiquity to light a big fire on the 12th day of Christmas to symbolize the revelation of Christmas that God loves us and to light up Epiphany as a feast of light throughout the world”, Andrews mentioned. “The light of Christ for love and healing and that is good news for us Christians.
The service included a group singing Christmas carols and gospel songs, prayers and scripture readings recounting the birth of Jesus and the visitation of kings, who offered him gold, incense and myrrh.
Participants were also invited to write down their prayers and blessings for the New Year, and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. delivered a prayer for the city. It ended with the burning of Christmas trees to mark the end of the Christmas season.
During the service, Reverend Patrick Sanders, a Vicksburg native and Episcopalian priest who is rector of a church on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, spoke of his own epiphany.
He spoke of returning home and visiting Holy Trinity, which he attended as a child.
Upon entering the church valet, he said, he was moved by the surroundings.
“This is where my star left off; if I were to come back to the place where I was presented to my Lord and Savior, a mile and a half, without asking questions, this is this room, ”he said. “It hit me like a truck in the chest.”
As he sat in the church, he said, he remembered that the stained glass windows in the church were part of his spiritual life, adding, “They are part of who I am as spiritual person. “
Now that 2021 is here and 2020, with all of its problems, is gone, Sanders said: “I hope we get back to something.”
“Maybe my new path is not ahead; maybe I need to come back to something. Go back to where my star left off; where I was a child of faith, where I believed in something … where when the world tried to divide me, that I could come back to a center where we can all agree that the Lord is the Lord and that God is God and we are all His and loved, ”he said.
“I can let God take me; I can let God take care of me, ”Sanders continued. “I can let God bring me back to where my star left off and I was no longer afraid and 7 years old and in love with God with nothing in front of me but love and redemption.”