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.

Fr. Kevin

First, I take this opportunity to thank all those who worked hard in so many different ways to prepare for and enable our Christmas worship, those behind the scenes and those “upfront”. The church looked beautiful, the liturgies were offered worthily, and the music was uplifting. It was encouraging to note a good attendance, particularly at Midnight Mass.

Secondly, I wish a very Happy and Peaceful New Year to all friends and family of St James’, near and far!

As the Roman world of 2000 years ago was beset by violence, political strife and greed, so it seems is our world today. For Christians, in Jesus Christ a light of hope which cannot be extinguished came into the world then, and comes to us today. This light shines in the darkness around us and drives away fear and despair. As we continue to rejoice in the incarnation of Jesus, the Light of the World, God’s Son coming amongst us to share our human life, and as we begin the New Year, let us look for this light, and pray for grace to reflect it to all around us by the lives we lead and the love we show.

I close with words from a poem, quoted by King George VI in his Christmas broadcast, 1939.

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”

From God Knows

by Minnie Louise Haskins

 

With every blessing for 2018 and all it will bring,

Fr Kevin