Friday, 8 January 2010
Follow the Star
I was reflecting on the readings for Epiphany yesterday as I prepared for our midweek communion service, to which only one hardy person came (usually it's between 15 and 20).
It was a star, or more likely a conjunction of planets, that led the wise men to find Jesus after he had been born. (NB: the wise men arrived in Bethlehem some time after Jesus was born - they would not have been seen with the shepherds as most school nativity plays suggest). The purpose of that star was simply to direct the Magi to Jesus.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus St Paul says that God's intent was that 'through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms...' In a culture that is increasingly negative about the church it's good to remember that the church has an amazing and significant purpose: revealing God not just on earth, but, in some way that I don't fully understand, in the heavens as well.
It seems to me, then, that the church is called to be a 'star' today, helping people to find Jesus, just as that astronomical phenonemom did for the wise men. That's why our motto at St John's is 'Helping people to meet Jesus.' The wise men didn't worship the star, as many pagan people might have done, but they used it to find Jesus. I hope and pray that people will use our church to find Jesus.