In celebrating Epiphany Sunday we learnt about gifts, journey, stars, and revisited thoughts about who the Magi were and where they might have come from.
Epiphany means manifestation, appearance revelation. So it celebrates the revealing of Jesus to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi.
Reading Matthew 2: 1 – 18
Thoughts on the Magi
There would not have been three of them, they were not kings, we don’t know if they were wise, and they did not ride camels. They would have had a large entourage, including soldiers and servants. They travelled from the east probably from either Petra in modern day Jordan, Babylon in modern day Iraq or Persia, modern day Iran. The most likely of these is Persia and in that case they would have been Zoroastrian priests, worshippers of fire and light.
Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh are typical gifts to offer to a king or to a deity. Symbolic for Jesus:
Gold is a sign of earthly kingship
Frankincense is a symbol of deity
Myrrh an embalming oil – foreshadowing his death
In our reading from Matthew it says that the Magi returned to their “country by another road”. Perhaps some of us will have to take roads we never expected in 2014, whether they involve employment, health, relationships, retirement, education, economic circumstances – who knows?
So if Epiphany brings unexpected challenges or opportunities or sorrows or joys, let us try to remember that whatever road we may have to travel in 2014 God loves us and will always be our companion on the journey.
The guiding star figures large in the Magi’s story. We had a wonder through the park with the following meditation:
Why did the magi follow the star why was it a sign?
- What path would you choose to follow in 2014?
The magi were warned not to follow the same path on their way home.
- Sometimes life takes us on unexpected journeys, consider your journey so far and reflect on times when you have been sure of God’s presence or purpose.
The Greeks believed at the time of birth a new star was hung in the night sky as a gift that would serve as a guiding light over each person’s life journey.
- Jesus your guiding light will journey with you in 2014
Following this activity we had a bash at making some rustic stars from the twigs that had been collected from around the park.
Some were more successful than others!
The area where the Magi may have journeyed or come from is an area of the world where there is conflict, unrest, war and suffering. We prayed for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt (where Jesus was a refugee).
seed us with hope
and empower us to be
for the coming
of your Kingdom.
with thanks to THE TEXT THIS WEEK
A Blessing for 2014.
may you take the risk of bringing your vulnerable, broken self and not your sorted self so that the gospel can flow
may you take small actions that become graced in the least predictable ways
may you resist the temptation towards a theology of answers
may you remember to pause and reflect
may you always be willing to listen
may the deep joy of the holy spirit make you a bringer of fun, play and laughter
may you accept the invitation to express venturesome love
may you take the risk of conversation that is two way
may your faith guide you to choose wisely and ethically for the good of others
may you develop the practices of soft eyes, compassionate responses and hospitality
may the holy spirit enliven your imagination such that you find the world magical, enchanted, awe-inspiring and breathtakingly wonderful
adapted from Jonny Baker worship tricks
May Jesus be your guiding light throughout 2014