(Ephesians 3.1-12;Matthew 2.1-12)
I want to remind you of the story of three men, three celebrities of their time. They were wise, wealthy and well-respected. They had everything they needed to live….big houses, transport efficient for the time and people looked up to them. Yet there was something missing: despite being able to buy anything and everything and almost everyone, they were searching for something that not even their money could buy. So they went travelling in search of this something special that not even money could buy…..they followed their hopes, their heart and their instincts. They knew that the object of their search didn’t promise money, it didn’t promise fame…..but it promised even more than this. It was a long, hard and sometimes dangerous journey.
Eventually they realised that they were seeking not something, but a relationship with somebody special ……they knew that it was a king they were looking for, somebody that would give their lives energy, meaning and direction. So, they went to look for this king in places where kings usually live. They went to a palace. But as soon as they arrived and met a king, they realised that this wasn’t the place or the person to whom they were being led. They had to think differently, they had to look differently, they had to act differently. They had to change.
Eventually, they found what they were looking for in a small, run-down neighbourhood…..in a place you would least expect to find anyone special, let alone a king. And they were so overwhelmed at what they saw, that they didn’t just say, ‘Hi! How’s it going?’, but they fell down on their knees and worshipped. These three possessed much, but they knew that they could never possess what they saw but they could only wonder – things that are of real value nobody can ever possess, we can only relate. ‘This is the most fantastic thing that has happened to us in our lives’, they said and all they could do was to forget the tiredness and difficulty of the journey and to offer what they had: gold, frankincense and myrrh. What they met and saw affected them so deeply that they were never the same again.
Today we celebrate the wise men searching for and seeing Jesus Christ and we celebrate the fact that the story of what happened all those years ago happens to us today.
Whether we are young or old or in-between, God is frequently wanting to show us something or someone special, something or someone that gives life, energy, meaning and direction. To see it, we will need to go travelling. We may have to go travelling many miles, like the wise men, but it may be that the long journey we may have to embark on will not require us to move far from the place we live because it will be more of an inner journey. Whatever kind of journey God calls us to do, it will bring us to this great treasure, which, when we see it, will change us for ever.
But we can be sure that this great treasure will be found in a place or in a person or in people that we least expect a treasure to be and we have to be willing to look differently, think differently and act differently if we are to see it. We will know it when we see it, but we can never possess it – remember that which is of real value nobody can ever possess. Like the wise men, we can only wonder at it and worship it and relate to it.
God calls us, not just once, but many times in our lives on these journeys wanting to show us something special, something that gives life, energy, meaning and direction….and the strange thing is, each time we see it, we recognise it.
Celebrating today is an important reminder of the importance of this journey: are we ready for it?
May God bless each one of you on your journeyings.
6.1.12. – Feast of the Epiphany
St. Mary Cray, Orpington