Happy New Year, and Happy Epiphany!
I like to provide a transcript of the sermon for those who have difficulty hearing YouTube videos, but in order to do this I usually start with a script. I’ve just returned from holiday and recorded this sermon from three bullet-points rather than a script:
- The Epiphany of returning to work
- The Epiphany of travel
- The Epiphany that God loves you
Epiphanys are moments of seeing things differently.
I realised this morning that as I return to work as the Vicar here, instead of meeting with a boss to discuss Christmas performance figures and work out the strategy for the year ahead, I met my boss (God) who says, “Hello. I love you. Welcome back. You know the peace, joy and rest you found while away? Can you hang on to that and bring some of it back with you?”
What started as a moment of realisation about working for God in Church became a moment of realisation that this applies to all of us. Where ever we work, or play, or care, or look after others, or search for work – or rest: God invites us into a relationship in which we work together.
In the sermon I retold the story about cycling in the North Yorkshire Moors, which can be read here (link), the point being that Epiphany doesn’t change things – it changes the way we see things. The wise men of today’s Bible reading were on a journey of discovery before they met Jesus, that meeting was brief and they continues on their way, changed and changing.
Our Churches of St Bartholomew’s, St James, Shred and the Home Church are not ‘our’ Churches: instead we are the Church and the Church belongs to God. We have nothing to worry about because God is in charge and says, “Its okay, I’ve got this. I love you.”
My hope is that in 2021 we, as a Church, will understand this a bit more. That we will have an Epiphany of realisation that God is at work and answers our prayers. My hope for the beautiful villages of Slaithwaite and Marsden, and the surrounding communities – is that we will all see God in a fresh way and come to understand that it is okay: there is a God and we are loved.