Signs of Celebration

Second Sunday after Epiphany – 20 January 2013

Water into Wine

Welcome to Worship today on this the Second Sunday after the Epiphany.  Strange you may say…what is Epiphany?  The word “epiphany” means to reveal or make known.  Two weeks ago the Biblical focus was on the visit of the Magi who had their “epiphany” when the Christ-Child was ‘revealed’ to them in an unexpected way.  They had made their long and arduous journey following a star by night for many months, possibly two years.  They thought that they would be worshiping a king in a palace (newborn king of the Jews. Matt 2: 2).  Their ‘epiphany came when they discovered that God had led them to a young child in a house in Bethlehem (Matt 2:9-11), this was not what they expected.  Hence the term ‘epiphany’ which comes from the Greek – meaning to “appear, reveal, shine, give light”.  The star, the journey, the gifts, the revelation, and the experience of these ‘wise ones from the east” all combine to give us an understanding of this extraordinary act of God.  God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  Ah…huh!  Epiphany!  The light comes on!  I get it!!

 So this is the season when we are invited to turn on the lights, to open up our minds to ‘new ways of seeing God revealed in the world’.  We also need to open ourselves to insights and new perspectives.

So, a New Year is always a great opportunity to do that kind of thing: some reflecting on our previous year and fixing our sights on the year ahead of us.  I don’t know about you but the New Year seems always pregnant with possibilities, opportunities and fresh challenges.  There’s something about the calendar flipping from December 31 to January 1 that inspires us to think ahead and look to the future, a bit like the beginning of a new chapter in a book.  Where will the story go next?  What will God reveal or make known to me/us/the community/world this year?  What new adventures will unfold in our lives over the next 12 months?  Our choices will shape the pace and direction of our life-story and the history of the world.  Ashmore Uniting Church resolves to be reaching out, changing lives in 2013.

With each New Year many of us resolve to change some aspect of our lives – to choose a different course.  We may resolve to lose weight, save more, spend less, make time for the kids or grandkids, maybe enroll for that course, spend more time with God – the list of potential New Year resolutions is endless.  As a congregation, what does God want to change so that we are fulfilling the call that has been placed on us as the body of Christ in this community?

Before the moment is lost, I’d like to invite you to come to an ‘Epiphany Evening’ where we will wrap up the Vision and Values reflection and reviewing from last year.  We will then prayerfully ask God to ‘appear, reveal, shine, give light’ to some New Years resolutions for the life and witness of this congregation for 2013.  We will make these resolutions achievable and realistic in the knowledge that God is a God of signs and miracles and with our faith being exercised, “he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen (Ephesians 3:20,21)

Please come to the church on Wednesday 30th January at 7-9pm.  If you can bring something for supper, that would be great.

Until then, please pray for our hearts and minds to be as receptive as the wise ones from the East who accepted the changes to their preconceived ideas about where they were heading and what they would find as they followed the light/star to worship the King.

May you be surprised by God’s Epiphany this week.                                  Rev Brad Foote

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