Happy New Year! We hope it has begun well for you & your families.
This weekend we have the great feast of the Epiphany. There are many reflections focused on this feast & I hope the ones we have chosen this year are ones you will find helpful. Our blessing this week is a Gaelic one, ‘Deep Peace’ from Libera. As we went into this new year I expect we were all mindful of our great need for peace especially in Ukraine & the Middle East. Let’s remain mindful of this as we listen to our blessings week by week.
For those who want to join us regularly or from time to time for a zoomed Evening Prayer, we begin again on Monday 8th. If you need the links, (they haven’t changed), let us know.
With our love & prayer
The Feast of the Epiphany
This feast tells us that for God there are no foreigners, no strangers, no aliens, no outsiders. We all belong to our God no matter what external physical or cultural differences there may be between us. We all belong to God no matter what religious convictions or lifestyle differences there may be between us. Our God is inclusive, unpredictable, imaginative, compassionate, forgiving, & God desires a personal encounter with us.
This feast means that we are called to be ‘epiphany people’. There is no turning back – just an on-going commitment to ‘shine forth’ with courage, compassion, vision, & to hope & to seek again & to live with a restless spirit, so as to be intensely engaged with humanity each in our own unique way.
What this feast tells is that although most religious discourse begins with a notion of a transcendent God up there in heaven, & then we try to explain everything down here in relationship to that transcendent God, in fact, as Jesus taught us, it is something more akin to ‘from the bottom up’. In other words, Jesus taught us to find God incarnate in this world, in our neighbour, in the eucharist – that is, in the ordinary elements of this earth. That is a very different notion of religion. It turns everything on its head. That is why this week we have celebrated three kings paying homage to a poor baby in a feeding trough.
Of all prophets and seers
just three, opening
the clasp of heaven’s veil,
revealing the question
of wonder’s quest.
Cold shimmering light,
night’s pointed sign,
attentive wisdom caught.
This silent message
evoking sage response:
A celestial companion,
moving travellers on.
Wisdom of years the guide
would have safely trod:
Beyond comfort awoken
to grime and fear of night,
becoming a caravan’s
A stall beneath a public hall:
Journey’s end –
could this be –
the beginning quest?
Magi, tradition tells,
light’s transcendent call.
Lord of galaxies and space
whose incarnate story embraced
astronomers, motherhood, poverty and glory;
weave your love within our hearts
That all our fitful stops and starts
may as myrrh
and frankincense, ascend
that even our short stories might unfold,
facets of love, as lustrous still
as Magi’s gold.
Blessing of the Magi
There is no reversing this road. The path that bore you here goes in one direction only, every step drawing you down a way by which you will not return.
You thought arrival was everything, that your entire journey ended with kneeling in the place you had spent all to find.
When you laid down your gift, release came with such ease, your treasure tumbling from your hands in awe and benediction.
Now the knowledge of your leaving comes like a stone laid over your heart, the familiar path closed and not even the solace of a star to guide your way.
You will set out in fear. You will set out in dream. But you will set out. By that other road that lies in shadow and in dark. We cannot show you what route will take you home; that way is yours and will be found in the walking.
But we tell you, you will wonder at how the light you thought you had left behind goes with you, spilling from your empty hands, shimmering beneath your homeward feet, illuminating the road with every step you take.