Sunday, 3 January 2016

Can't make it to church - 3 January 2016

Regardless of the fact that many around us appear to have taken their lights and Christmas trees down, where I am we are still celebrating Christmas - and today, many others around the world will be joining in as we reach Epiphany; this is the time when the Magi (wise men or kings) get to meet Jesus.

The shepherds were there at the birth. These men represent the Jewish faith, but more than that, this  excluded and most unwelcome of guests in their own society, also display the reality that Jesus came to all believers (which means Jewish). But today we find the people at the top of the pile seeking, and finding, Jesus - but more than this, they were also Gentiles; meaning 'not Jews'.

This is the moment when Jesus has been revealed to those near and far off: Jew and Gentile.

This is the moment when Jesus has been revealed to the lowest and the highest of people.

The moment when the light came into the world and reconciliation between humanity and the creator was made real and the revelation was, microcosmically, complete. Today we, remembering this encounter have the opportunity to thank God that we, who were also as far off as those rich and intelligent men of who we sing in the hymn 'We three kings...' are also now called to be near and to stand in the light in what is, and always has been, a very dark place.

Job, in the midst of his trials and tribulations, give us a thought regarding there being someone who can stand between man and God to intercede and to minister; the 'Wise Men' are celebrated for finding that person on this day.

And how will those you know who are beset by need, trouble, illness and other deeds find this light and come into the reconciliation of God as made ours through the cross of Jesus, the Christ? The answer is simple: it is up to us to take it to them. This year we need to be hearers and do'ers of the word: We need to be people who read our Bible and pray to God.

Simple innit?


The Collect
Almighty God, in the birth of your Son you have poured on us the new light of your incarnate Word, and shown us the fullness of your love: help us to walk in his light and dwell in his love that we may know the fullness of his joy; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 60.1-6
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant;your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Ephesians 3.1-12
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles - for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given to me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow-heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matthew 2.1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Post Communion Prayer
All praise to you, almighty God and heavenly king, who sent your Son into the world to take our nature upon himCand to be born of a pure virgin: grant that, as we are born again in him, so he may continually dwell in us and reign on earth as he reigns in heaven,
now and for ever. Amen.

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