|Pentecost 22, Year B||October 25, 2015||Proper 25, Year B||Jeremiah 31:7-9, Mark 10:46-52|
|Pentecost 21, Year B||October 18, 2015||Proper 24, Year B||Isaiah 53:4-12, Mark 10:35-45|
|The Feast of St Francis||October 4, 2015||The Feast of St Francis||Matthew 11:25-30|
|Pentecost 18, Year B||September 27, 2015||Proper 21, Year B||James 5:13-20|
|Pentecost 17, Year B||September 20, 2015||Proper 20, Year B||Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22, Psalm 54, James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37|
|Pentecost 16, Year B and Baptism||September 13, 2015||Proper 19, 2015||Mark 8:27-38, Psalm 116:1-8|
|Pentecost 15, Year B||September 6, 2015||Proper 18, Year B||Isaiah 35:4-7a, Ps 146, James 2:1-17, Mark 7:24-37|
|Pentecost 12, Year B, Jonathan Myrick Daniels Commemoration||August 16, 2015||Pentecost 12, Proper 15||Proverbs 4:20-27, Psalm 85:7-13, Galatians 3:22-28, Luke 1:46-55|
|Pentecost 11, Year B||August 9, 2015||Proper 14, Year B||Ephesians 4:25-5:2|
|Pentecost 10, Year B||August 2, 2015||Proper 13, Year B||Ephesians 4:-16, John 6:24-35|
|Pentecost 8, Year B||July 19, 2015||Proper 11, Year B||Psalm 23, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56|
|Pentecost 7, Year B||July 12, 2015||Pentecost 7, Year B||Ephesians 1:3-14|
|Pentecost 6, Year B||July 5, 2015||Proper 9, Year B||Ezekiel 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 13:3-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Pentecost 5, Year B||June 28, 2015||Proper 8, Year B||Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 30|
|Pentecost 4, Year B||June 21, 2015||Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 7, Year B||2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41|
Sermon Date:January 6, 2011
Epiphany, Year A
Not so long ago, the shepherds sat in the darkness of a cold winter night in Bethlehem, watching over their sheep, when suddenly they were surrounded by light—the light of the Lord.
And through this bright light, they heard the songs of angels—
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to all.
And the light and the voices of angels led the shepherds to Bethlehem, where they found the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And the wise men saw a bright star, and they were so mesmerized by it that they followed it into a country not their own, through the wilderness to Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem, where they found Mary and the Christ child.
In the Christmas season which is now coming to a close, the glory of the Lord has shone around us too, and we have also seen the bright star.
We, too, have been led in this season of light to the manger, to see for ourselves what has come to pass
God with us, in the flesh, one of us, here to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to God, the creator and lover of all of creation.
But we can’t stay at the manger forever.
And now, like the shepherds, who had to leave the manger and return to their flocks,
we travel back to the dark fields of our lives, to continue tending our own flocks, our own responsibilities.
Like the wise men, who went back to their own country by another road, with no mention of a star to lead them home again,
we travel back to our own homes by another way, without a star to lead us.
And our dark fields are things like unexpected illnesses that have been thrust upon us through no fault of our own, or on someone we love and care for,
Or grief for the ones we’ve loved who have died and left us standing in what feels like total darkness,
Or frustration at the darkness we are finding in our relationships with the ones that we love and live with every day.
And with the Christmas trees taken down for another year, and the Christmas lights put away, our family members who came to visit having returned to their far away homes, and the Christmas carols gone until next year, we find ourselves stopping to ask,
“Where is that light and joy and hope and wonder that I felt at Christmas?
“ Where are those angels, where is the light of the Lord, where is that star?”
I’m as lost as I ever was—and maybe even more lost and let down, now that I’m back to my normal life, just getting through the short
dark days and the long cold nights of winter, dealing with sickness, injuries,
grief, death, just dealing with life.
And so we, the people of St Peter’s, come back together on this cold night in the
darkness at the end of the Christmas season, because like the shepherds and the wise men,
we are not alone.
We have one another.
The shepherds went back to the fields together.
The wise men had one another as they took a strange road home without the help of the star.
Into the darkness, they took their memories of the light that had shone round them.
The shepherds, on the coldest, darkest, most depressing nights, could say to one another,
“Remember that night?” “Remember how the glory of God shone around us?” “Remember how afraid we were?” “Remember what we saw?”
And in telling one another the story, the shepherds find that the night is not so dark and so cold and so endless as they had feared.
And the wise men, travelling through the wilderness, on a strange road that might or might not lead home, a road frequented by bandits who would like nothing more than to rob a wise man,
The wise men say to one another, “Remember that bright star?” “Remember the child?” “Remember how we just knew that he was
the one we had come to worship?” “Remember how we opened our treasure chests
and gave him our gifts?”
Together, the shepherds and the wise men remember, and they remind one another of the light they have seen—and they give one another hope all over again in the dark fields and they give one another the courage they need to travel dark unfamiliar roads.
So together, we remember the light, and in our darkest times, we tell one another about what we have seen, and we give one another hope and courage.
Now, we come together to travel through this great season of Epiphany,
A season in which we look for the light flickering and dancing ahead of us,
glimmering through the darkness in which we live, the darkness through which we travel.
In this season, we search for the man,
born in a stable and laid in a manger,
a man who carries within him the light,
A man who is the true light who has come into the world.
This light is still with us, and we will search together for it in this season, look for the ways in which Jesus himself, the son of God, the light of the world, is visible to us, even in our darkness.
Together we will seek him, seek his light, seek the hope and courage we find when we gather together in his name.
Epiphany is also the great season in which we discover all over again that we have been transformed by what we have seen.
Each one of us, even if we feel like nothing more than a dimly burning wick, each one of us has become a bearer of the light.
So we gather together tonight to remind ourselves that as inadequate as we feel, as bruised as we feel, as depressed or as sick as we may feel,
that we are the ones who have been blessed to see the true light that has come into the world,
we are the ones who have felt the glory of the Lord shine round us, we are the ones who have seen the star.
We are the ones that God is counting on to remember the story of Christmas, to remember that God is in our midst, in the flesh, bringing light into our dark world.
We are the ones that God is counting on to share the light, even as, in the words of Isaiah, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness covers the people.
We gather around this table tonight, in this semi darkness, to hold out our hands, to receive the true light that has come to us.
When we eat this bread and drink this wine, we take the light within us.
And even if we feel like a dimly burning wick, the light will shine through us as we are transformed, ever so surely, by the light that has come to dwell in us.
And when we leave this place, we go out not only seeking the light, but carrying the light, doing what we can to bring hope and courage and light out into the darkness.
And so, as we go together to carry the light out into the darkness, our small lights, our dimly burning wicks grow brighter in one another’s light.
We have one another.
Together, we remember the light we have seen.
Together we seek the light,
Together we receive the light and take it within us.
Together we go out
into the darkness after this service,
And our dimly burning lights will glow together in the darkness.
Only together will the light we carry into the world
be bright enough to remind others that indeed,
the light of Christ has come into the world, is in the
world, and that
as we love and serve God with strength and courage,
with gladness and singleness of heart,
others will see the glory of God shining around them, and catch a glimmer of a bright star in the dark sky, calling them to go with us,
to follow the light that the Prince of Peace has brought into our cold, dark world.