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? . . . Then Herod . . . 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.
sermons4kids: “We can find the way to Jesus by reading God’s Holy Word! The Bible is the map and star that will lead to Jesus. All of us should read it every day to make sure we are headed in the right direction!”
Scripture: January 6, 2019—Isaiah 60:1–6; Ephesians 3:1–12; Psalm 72:1–7, 10–14; and Matthew 2:1–12.
Collect: O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: In Epiphany when the magi make their great journey to see the Christ Child, we see Jesus drawing all creation to the divine life revealed in him, and we see the realization of God’s dream of reconciled creation. In our own way, we are each endowed by the Spirit with unique and precious gifts for sharing God’s healing love in a good but often divided world. What spiritual practices do you engage in that allow you to stay peaceful, courteous, and develop a respectful regard for difference? How do you stay present and create openness for finding, revealing, and activating God’s reconciling love in the world?
Sunday School—9 am on Sunday
Ear Worm: “We three kings” sung by The Hound + The Fox; “What star is this” by Jay Althouse; “There shall a star from Jacob come forth” by Mendelssohn (at the end is the chorale “How brightly beams the morning star”)
image “Adoration of the Magi” by Artemisia Gentileschi
Reflection from the Pew
New this issue—a reflection from a member of the parish. The column will be published irregularly, likely once a month. The editor will tap members of the parish for their contribution. If you wish to be a contributor, contact Sandi. This reflection comes from Christopher Johnson. Thank you, Chris.
A Season of Light for a Christmas People
As the Epiphany approaches, I am reminded of a tradition that views the space between the Epiphany and Lent as an unofficial season of light. We go through the Gospel stories of Jesus being a light to the world and are reminded of our part in continuing that ministry. Carrying on the Gospel’s call can seem daunting, however as someone who has come to the Episcopal Church as opposed to born into it, I think we are equipped with a secret weapon. We are a Christmas people.
I remember once being told by a theologian friend of mine that each of the Christian Churches represents a different aspect of the faith. The Eastern Orthodox concentrate often on the image of the resurrected Christ, a sort of Cosmic image, that can be seen in their Churches behind the altar. Roman Catholicism with its images of Christ crucified on the crucifix, according to him, demonstrates their own understanding of sacrifice, and this sacrifice can be seen in the stigmata of Saint Francis. Where does this put us as Episcopalians? According to him the Anglican Communion (of which we belong) are a Christmas people. We walk among God’s people in a way almost no other Church can.
As a Church of Christmas people, we reach out to those who like a lot of ritual or almost none at all. Instead of closing the sacraments within our faith, we use them to reach out to others so that they may be drawn to the divine source of life. In other words, just as Christ was birthed into this world to usher in the Kingdom of God, we are blessed through our tradition to bring that Kingdom’s other worldliness to this one. Our faith requires us to make everyday Christmas Day by making Christ known to those around us.
As we, the members of St Simon and St Jude, go forward in this season of light, let us remember our position as a Christmas people and nurture and strengthen each other in our collective mission. Just as we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, we also link arms and walk together joyfully making Christ’s spirit of community obvious for all to see.
~Christopher Johnson, ©2019
Back to class. Will talk about Epiphany. Bring your thoughts about what symbolizes epiphany. See you at 9 on Sunday.