First Sunday in EPIPHANY
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
A husband composed a song to convey his story:
“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: A note that says, “Let us save our money for the new year, which means you will not get a gift this Christmas. “On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me, long list of bills”
Today is the day after the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany, “God is revealed to us”. You may not have gotten any gift during those 12 days of Christmas but God has given you the most gift you ever have, His son our Saviour Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who, through him, God the father is revealed. He is the light that will guide us back to God the Father. In him, will never get lost.
On our way back from sacramento last night, we lost our way going to San Francisco . It was too late when I realized that the road I took was taking us to 99 South towards Lodi and Jackson. No, no, we were not looking for Jackson Rancheria Casino. Thanks to GPS, we found our track back. It took us three hours from sacramento to San Francisco, which should have been two hours only.
I wonder how the three Magi in the Gospel story found the Child Jesus by just following a star? It was suggested that they were astrologers who studied the stars and other heavenly bodies but I don’t think they had an improvised GPS then. I don’t think that just by following the direction of the star, there were no cliffs or water either? Riding on the back of a Camel? I am pretty sure they had to avoid those roads and took a longer route. The Wise men came following a star searching for the one born King of the Jews. The Bible says they came from the East. It was probably Persia. They traveled hundreds of miles and even on camel back they probably did not move much faster than a quick walk. Back then they did not have travel insurance or Highway Patrol or even a gasoline station to ask a map. It was a dangerous journey especially for three very wealthy men with chests full of treasure. They probably had to bring their own security force with them to protect them from robbers. They took at least one wrong turn. They assumed that anyone born to be King of the Jews would be in the palace of the King of Israel. They came to King Herod who became interested to see the Child with a dark intention. They finally got on the right path with the help of an angel who told them not to go back to Herod. And with God’s help they finally found Jesus.
I can only assume that these three Magi went through many hardships and a few wrong turns, but I aslo believe that amidst those challenges, they kept searching and they found God come in the flesh to save us all. God reveals himself all the time if we only seek. The problem is that many people are not looking. How many people saw the star of Bethlehem but failed to notice it. And how many more who saw it failed to ask what it meant. God is being revealed to us all the time. So why don’t people see God. For the most part, it is because they are not looking for God. They may see things and simply overlook them. So they may walk right by and not question what they have seen. So we need to seek. If we want to find God in our world we need to seek. We need to open our eyes and be looking. We need to expect to see something and then we need to question what it means. Like the Wise Men we need to seek to find. Seeking may not be easy. But if we only make our resolves and determinations to find God, we will find him with much joy.
One can’t seek God for granted. If the Wise men had only sought the Messiah on the weekend they would have never have found him. They had to dedicate their lives to it. It probably took them years and cost them a fortune. It was also a trip that include some wrong turns and some dangers. When you seek, know that there will be missteps. You may go down some valleys and peaks, some deeo water or dead ends. But keep seeking. Keep looking despite the dangers. Somewhere, somehow, you will find God revealing Himself to you and the things around you. And you will be able to say, “Aha!” Much to your surprise, He has been there all the time and that you didn’t have to look farther.
Would you like to have an Epiphany experience? Would you like to have the spiritual lights turned on in your heart and soul or turned brighter. Would you like to be suddenly aware of the presence of God in your life? Then seek. Look for God in your life. Don’t do it on just Sundays. Seeking God is not for granted; it is life endeavor. It may take a while so keep seeking. It may be hard to job at this time or home for a shelter this cold season. There may be hardships and wrong turns but keep seeking. Like the wise men follow the light of the star that you have seen and let it lead you to Jesus. Then when you arrive at your epiphany, you can open the treasure chest of your heart, and you can worship God almighty come in the flesh to save us all!
In our journey to seek God, let us bring Christ to others.Here’s my suggestion in doing so:
We are going to kick start our new year with a plan and the plan will revolve around our calling from God to make a difference in our lives, families, church and community.
Invite one friend next sunday. It will be the feast of the Holy Child Jesus, Santo Nino. Let your guest feel the revelation of God’s presence in our worship and fellowship. David and Marie had their Epiphany experience when they first came for a visit here in our midst. They are back because they felt the presence of God in our worship and fellowship.
Let it be our goal to bring at least one or two friends this year. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Just say, “come and see, we are a loving and caring community.”Build that friend to be part of one of our programs. Let him or her feel God’s calling to seek for the star in Jesus through our church and community program.
The revelation of God does not end in the birth of Jesus. It goes beyond the spirit of the Birth, it goes through our hearts and beyond, to the next person whom you bring Jesus to. It goes beyond the walls of this Church. God reveals himself to us at Holy Child and St Martin through our compassion to the poor and the uninsured in our community. I ask you all to turn on your lights and join me in the distribution of the health flyer to anyone, anywhere for people to know that the star of God is just right here in our midst. We will be going door to door in the neighborhood, in every bus stops, in every laundry area to invite people to come and see how God is being revealed through our programs for the community. You will also find that on our meeting with the people, God is also revealed to us. God has been calling us all along to do this kind of ministry. Keep your hearts open that God may enter and reveal himself to you. May the light of God revealed in the word made flesh, Jesus our Lord, be with you today and as you leave this place to proclaim God’s love to the world. Happy Epiphany to all. Amen.