Exploring the Sunday Gospel - Epiphany
This Sunday we are celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany (deferred from 6 January). The Feast of the Epiphany draws on Matthew’s account of the visit of the wise men. According to Matthew, Jesus’ birth was recognised and welcomed by the wise men from the East (representing the Gentile world), but rejected by King Herod (representing God’s chosen people, and acting on information provided by the chief priests and scribes). The journey of the wise men from the East is a rich tradition which contains many important images. One of these images is the Christmas star. According to this image, the wise men from the East seem to have been astrologers who were led to the infant Jesus by following the star. The star stopped over the place where the child Jesus was living.
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of Christmas star. In today’s picture from his book, The Present, Teddy Horsley is joining three of the wise men, carrying their precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, as they follow the star to Bethlehem.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you led the wise men by your star,
and welcomed them into your home.
Let your star shine over our heads
and lead us to welcome you into our lives;
for you are our God.
Next Sunday, the Second Sunday of Epiphany, the Gospel reading concerns John’s account of Jesus’ first disciples. In this account, in appointing Simon as his disciple, Jesus changes his name, and accordingly changes his character. The image to help prepare for next Sunday’s theme is names. You can find out more about that theme by looking at the Educational Resources and the Preparation Resources.
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