The Epiphany of Our Lord

Sermon Title: The Epiphany of our Lord: 2016
Preacher: Rev’d Susanne Chambers
Date: 3rd January 2016
Church Calendar Date:
Lectionary Reading:
So many people these days are going on pilgrimages. Many walking the paths of great saints, or journey to holy islands, or to Jerusalem. One of the staff at Anglicare has decided to take the equivalent of a ‘gap’ year.  Jonathan is going on a ‘Datsun pilgrimage’ in a couple of months.  It seems to me that although people have been doing pilgrimages all through the years, it seems to have become more popular in recent times.

Why now? What’s going on for us human beings that there is this desire /urge to take time off not to sight see, but to seek something else.

The wise men, (we don’t know really how many… though because they brought three gifts, some scholars deduced that there were only three on a quest.)  However many, they saw a new star and so this signalled to them that an important leader… A Jewish King had been born. It seems quite probable that they were experts in a particular field and probably that of astrology / astronomy. They had observed the change in the heavens and made their calculations.

It was some pilgrimage.  Walking into a trap set by Herod. Following the star which steadied over Bethlehem and over a particular house.  They were overjoyed when they found the child Jesus.  I wonder if this is where they expected to find such an important leader.

They left gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. Items of luxury from Arabia.

After a dream they left and went back home via another route.

Did this journey change them? Going on a quest and finding what they were looking for?  We don’t know. But it was their own natural gifts and the scriptures that led them on the pilgrimage to seek what they were looking for.

Let me return now to the year 2016. Happy New Year!

As I said at the beginning, many people are heading off on walks. On pilgrimages. What is it that they are seeking? What is missing in their lives for them to go in search for?

Maybe some don’t know what it is they are searching for and so they go with ears and eyes and hearts open to an awakening… an awareness of something that is missing in their lives.

I would suggest that it is the search for wholeness. For the spiritual centre in us and around us that we have lost through our love affair with technology and through our busy lives that we try to meet maybe society’s expectations of us.

We don’t all need to go to holy islands or follow saint’s footsteps although these are awesome experiences! We can find our spiritual centre where we live… if we want to enough.

For us Christians, it might be going yet again on the search of the Christ-child who has been lost from view because of other influences which have rattled our faith.

We need to take time to pray, read the scriptures, maybe with a good commentary, talk to other Christians and toss around the questions … You know, you are probably not the only one who questions! As with the magi, the going may not be easy and there maybe be traps along the way… those who may not understand what you are seeking, or illness or something like boulders in the way..the magi didn’t realise the trap Herod was making for them but in a dream ( dreams can be very important!) made their way home safely.

To walk somewhere takes a lot longer than obviously if you drive to the destination. But it is in the pausing, in the stopping, taking time out, as we do in walking, that in our prayer time we will find our way.

When we strip back to the basics of Jesus the Christ, God incarnate, we come to find where our treasure is… why we are going on spiritual quests.  We come to know and use our God-given gifts and with the scriptures to guide us, find our way to wholeness and our spiritual centre.

In this New Year, at this particular time in your life, are you being called to go on a quest… Today’s a good day as any to start.

The Lord be with you.