January 6, 2013 The Epiphany of our Lord | The Community
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January 6, 2013 The Epiphany of our Lord

This week’s readings

Happy New Year from the Preacher’s Table! The light has come. Join us as we consider the readings for Epiphany.

Are you telling the story of the Magi in a new way this year? How well do your folks understand the history of this event: astronomers travelling for years? Their setting within the massacre of the innocents?

Our supporting readings are full of hope and wonderful musical choices. Arise! Shine! Your light has come! How do we celebrate this majestic coming in the midst of the troubles of this world?

The picture on this post is from a newsletter from a daycare centre my youth group and I volunteered with in 2010, Casa de Los Angeles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The children re-enact the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Their story continues as well, as they journey on to Egypt and then return.

This month my parish is beginning the Natural Church Development process, so I am taking a congregational development theme this Epiphany. How do we welcome the stranger? How are we shining the light in our community? What gifts has God given to us to share with our community, even the gifts that seem strange?

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.
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0 Responses to January 6, 2013 The Epiphany of our Lord

  1. We at General Synod just celebrated our Epiphany service. (Feast dates often get moved around here due to travel and timing.) The Primate was preaching, and he took things somewhere that I found helpful. He looked at the Epiphany narratives as “Gospel in miniature,” and noted the the entire story is polarized:

    helpless baby/authoritarian rule

    infinite love/infinite hate

    promise of life/threat of mass murder

    life in fear/life in peace

    and so on…

    At the time, I was thinking about how I try to avoid polarized readings, because too often they lead to black-and-white conclusions and simplistic solutions. But it’s true: the Gospeller paints a picture of extremes for us. Then +Fred pulled out a small paper card that was taped into his BAS. It read,

    The child of glory,

    the child of Mary,

    born in the stable

    the king of all.

    Happy they are counted

    who to him are near.

    He told us that the card remains fastened to his BAS year round, and how the reminder, especially the last line, “happy they are counted who to him are near,” calls him back to the perspective the incarnation reveals: light in the darkness, hope in despair, life in the midst of death.

    The same words are now printed out on a piece of card stock, pinned beside my computer. Because you know, sometimes life and ministry feels polarized. Or rather, sometimes we interpret the people and events around us in extremes. But what a helpful reminder–that in the midst of chaos as evil, we have hope, we have love, we have joy! And what a great way to move into a new year (or perhaps a vestry meeting)!

  2. I’m thinking of using T.S Elliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi”. It presents a very different picture from that painted by Matthew. Some have analyzed it and presented their thoughts that he is describing here his own journey to faith and conversion and transformation.

    I particularly like what is likely his accurate description of what the journey was like …

    “A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year
    For a journey, and such a long journey:
    The was deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.”
    And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow.
    There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
    And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
    Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
    And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
    And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
    And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
    And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.
    A hard time we had of it.
    At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches,
    With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.”

    And yet they kept going because of what they hoped to experience and encounter

    I wonder … what are the things that might get in our way and distract us along our journeys of faith … and maybe even discourage us from going any further … and then what motivates us to keep going on the journey … what are we longing to experience … and how are our lives affected by that experience when we do encounter it.

    Let’s see where this goes …….

  3. Dawn Leger

    I am taking this opportunity to introduce the parish to our NCD process. I always find topical sermons in the lectionary cycle so hard. I prefer to start with the text and be moved by the Word. This feels like I have my point and now I have to make the lessons conform to my message.

     

    How would you link the story of the magi to beginning a process of vision and congregational development?

  4. Absolutely. But in this case, I think the text may actually work in your favour, especially if what you want to make clear is the fact that this will be the beginning of visioning and development.

    …having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

    Perhaps the blessed coincidence is that you’re beginning the visioning process at this point in the lectionary. To be certain, until the incarnation, there was a certain way of doing things: a certain way of justice, of rulership, of religion, etc. And everything changed. So much so, that those who were wise were inspired by God to take a different road.

    That sounds pretty significant in terms of visioning, no? Whenever we start one of these processes, we have to come to terms with the fact that while we have a certain way of doing things, it might not be in line with Kingdom living. We might even be called to ignore the voice of status quo, and go back to our mission and ministry by a different road.

    Visioning is risky stuff, because it involves listening to the spirit. Incarnation is transformational. 🙂

  5. I’d agree with Jesse that this is a wonderful and inspiring beginning to a visioning process. What are the barriers that hinder the journey … like Herod … like the obstacles they likely faced along the way. And what gave them the courage and strength to continue on the journey, their hope in what they would experience. And that experience changed and transformed them in such a way that they would never be the same again. The transformation was a gift and a burden all at the same time. But again by God’s grace, and through direction from the Holy Spirit, there is a way forward that allows for the blessing of God to shine because we have and continue to experience the glory of God shining upon us.

    Awesome texts as you venture into what God is inviting you into as a parish. Blessings!!

  6. Yes! Barriers on the journey! You’ve seen the Christ child. Now what stands in the way of bringing that good news back to the people in where you live? Hmm…

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