Over this past semester, I have found myself becoming more and more curious about history and the doings of the “mighty dead,” men of whom the world was not worthy. The coursework for the program I was attending, the John Jay Institute in Philadelphia, explored the history of nations and ideas and the West’s religious history. I did not realize it, but historically the Church has employed a calendar in order to order the life of the believer around the life of Christ. The calendar in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer includes Scripture passages relating to major events in Christ’s life and in the early church on any given day, and often pointing forwards to His second coming.
For example, 6 January was “Epiphany,” Greek for “manifestation,” which was when the three Magi from the East finally arrived to meet and adore the Christ child; the day also symbolizes the Light of nations reaching those far outside the people of Israel. For a Gentile like me with no right to the covenants, promises, or adopted status of God’s chosen people, this is a wonderful day! “Very light of very Light” has reached the bitterly cold interior of this heart and is warming its rebellious wilds with a lively warmth.
Secretary of State William Seward was heartily berated for purchasing such an “Ice Box” from Russia. He served under both President Lincoln and President Jackson, and survived an attempt on his own life the same night John Wilkes Boothe shot President Lincoln. However, Seward did not live to see his decision to purchase Alaska for $.02 per acre justified eight years after his death when valuable minerals, gold, and oil were discovered.
Alaska is a latecomer to the Union. Geographically separated from the mainland, dark, distant, with a hostile climate, Alaska was not a logical purchase. However, it is now unquestioningly part of this nation, with all the responsibilities and rights of any other state (excepting perhaps hunting rights). I rejoice at my first Epiphanytide, knowing God has chosen to allow me into union with Him and His people.