At Epiphany the Church celebrates the revelation of Christ’s glory to the nations, represented in the Magi who travelled from distant lands in search of the Christ-child. It is noteworthy that it is Matthew’s Gospel, written for a community of Jewish converts to Christianity, which presents this section of the Birth narrative: to highlight from the very beginning of the Gospel that this Good News is not exclusively for the covenant-people of Israel, but for all nations and peoples. It is interesting to note too that the Magi were prompted to set out on their journey by signs discerned within their own culture and experience.
There are lessons here for the Church today in our desire to share the Gospel, the Good News, and to reflect the light and love of Christ in the diverse cultures in which we are set. There has sometimes been an arrogance and condescension in missionary work, which has failed to recognise and respect the worth of different societies: our Anglican Church of Canada has apologised for errors in this regard to First Nations’ peoples, and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission continue to challenge the Churches to continue their work of reconciliation.
We are blessed at St. James’ in the diversity represented in our congregation and in the multi-cultural community in which we are set. May the mutual respect we have one for another, and our ability to learn from each other, be a sign of the presence of Christ within and amongst us; may we be as ready to recognise the light of Christ in the other as well as amongst ourselves.