Saturday, 4 January 2014

Epiphany Sermon: Written in the Stars

Isaiah 60: 1-6
Matthew 2: 1-12

Over our Christmas break, Jamie and his girlfriend Lara visited with us, one evening as we were looking out Lara was delighted to see so many stars. Stars that we take for granted- she doesn’t see them so clearly, only 35 miles away, because in the centre of town there is far too much light pollution – it’s a blessing we are hardly aware of – let’s give thanks for that!

When we look out, into our clear skies, and see those stars, I wonder how similar they are to the stars that those wise men looked at.
How dark were their skies?
Did they take them for granted? Or did they notice the minute changes taking place?

And if we go back even further in time, what were the stars that Isaiah looked out at like?
What did his night sky tell?
Light was important; light in the darkness, for they did not have much in the way of artificial light; no light pollution for them – light came from the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night; and in the home, light came from small lamps, burning oil – smoky dim light... so imagining the city lit by the Light of God – well that was something special
Something glorious...

And to look at the stars, seeking news; scanning for changes; reading and interpreting, on the hunt for information... to look out and up was truly the only way to know... or to hope and dream of the future.

Things written in the stars....
For the wise men, the stars told of the birth of a new king... and the portent was such that they gave up home and familiarity to make that perilous journey into the unknown – with a star and eternal hope their greatest motivation.

It’s hard for us to imagine it really;
Hard for us to grasp
Beyond our wildest imaginings
It would be like receiving an email today – telling us of a new and exciting venture. And we deciding it must be true! And not only that, but dropping everything and going to see it for ourselves.
If someone we knew did such a thing we’d be amazed; we’d be incredulous- and likely we’d brand them to be fools!

And yet. For these men who studied the stars, this was no fool’s errand; this was important, vital, urgent – it was what they must do. They felt utterly compelled.
When was the last time you or I felt so utterly compelled to do something? Anything?!

The starts spelled it out for them: their star words were invitation, journey, amazement, opportunity, worship, pathfinding, prophecy, determination.... wonder. Wonder indeed!
And they felt compelled to act on them.
Would that any of us had such resolve!

What happened next we know, and the story is familiar... so instead of visiting with that little family, take a moment now to think about what was written in the stars for you last year. If you had had a word for 2013, as you think back over it, what would it have been?
What was the overriding theme for you last year?
What had you hoped for?
What did you get?
Where did you find answers?
Who was your greatest inspiration?

And, if you had had a word given you, how might that have affected the way you looked at the world? At your life?

You heard me explain a little to the children as they found their starwords earlier.
A word to guide your prayers; to guide your life... a word from God

After we celebrate communion, I will invite those who are comfortable to come forward and take a star.
 If you want me to draw  a star for you later on, I will do that too.
Keep your star – pray that word
Let it guide you; inspire you
If at first it seems strange, or wrong, or uncomfortable – sit with it! Ask God to guide you

And all through this year, the star will remind you, inspire you, challenge you and ultimately by this time next year, you may have a whole other view... or outlook, or simply know that as God guided your prayers, and responded and responds, God also helped you to take the word he had for you, for this year!

if you are unable to be at church this weekend and would like a word drawn on your behalf, please just leave a comment here, or comment on the church Facebook page. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this sermon, Julie. You so beautifully connected the dots (or the stars) between today, the Magi, and Isaiah. Thanks for sharing.