Sunday 6th January (Epiphany C)

Epiphany: a revelation.
Men of holiness, knowledge, power and wisdom,
guided only by the light of the star,
so the story goes,
sought truth,
sought one ‘born king of the Jews’,
sought one without power, without knowledge,
and yet who brought light to the world.
For them it was a star of wonder.

For paranoid Herod,
appointed by Caesar,
king of the Jews
it was a star of fright
For the local priests and scribes
it was matter for indifference.

The visitors
undertook a risky journey –
the search for truth, the meaning of life.
Together, in community, they journeyed
in adversity
(they seemed to have lost sight of the star
in the ‘light pollution’ of the royal court
in Jerusalem)
and accomplishment.
And a life-changing moment,
an epiphany,
set them on another road.

For each of us,
Is their search also our search?
Do we, too, persevere in the face of adversity?
There is nothing new about the reality of pain and death
which seemingly cast dark shadows over the joy of Christmas
and speak of emptiness, despair, hopelessness
for many families.
Those things
which we regard as shadows and darkness of life
have been with us from the beginning.

Stars don’t just go wandering
across the rooftops,
yet their nightly presence reminds us
that in the birth of a child
a light has come to shine in our darkness
and guide us
not in the ways of power and knowledge
but in the way of peace.

Where to from here in your journey?
(Adapted from a sermon from some years ago, which draws on some words from friend and former colleague the Reverend John Petrie and may also have drawn on material from other, long-forgotten, sources.)
        Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
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