St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1788

E-mail: office@stmarymags.ca


The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

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Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

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Sermon

January 3rd Epiphany, 2021  (transferred)   John Marsh


Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12


                                                                                                                        

It’s Epiphany…


Truth to tell, outside of gatherings of Christians, what is perhaps becoming a self imposed echo chamber,


Epiphany is an unusual word, a little used word, a word very often unintelligible…


To clarify, etymologically, an epiphany is a manifestation or an appearance, early on the appearance of the dawn, latterly a divine appearance, meanings intermingling, a light in darkness, perhaps a divine light illumining…


Confessionally, we are celebrating, marking, the manifestation of Yeshua ben Yosef as the Christ, an expected one, a messianic fulfillment…


Theopoetically, we read narratives which tell a story of the Magi, led by a guiding star, coming to adore the birth of one promised, the magi are those other, Zoroastrian priests, astrologers, travelling from the locale of a former, earlier empire, offering, within the latest ascendant imperial expression, gifts to one born amidst lack and privation, one on the margins…


Stirring deeply within this narrative, deeper than honorific titles, deeper than imperial pretensions, a way, perhaps a way out of no way, a way of life as lived by Yeshua calls, this calling a flickering of hope in dark times, a calling of love, compassion, reconciliation, and justice…


Deeply understood, Epiphany is a theopoetic promise, a prayer, a hope that shalom – wholeness, the coming together of disparate parts – may be birthed of justice, hospitality and compassion as opposed to victory, imposition and domination, a prayer that those who adore a messianic birth may risk enacting, making real a messianic promise, risking stepping out, standing up, perhaps to fulfill others messianic dreams and desires…


(Truth to tell, we may hope, dare I say, work for shalom and yet, despite desire, our hopes may fall to pieces…)


However, this way of Yeshua, this way perhaps a light in times of darkness, is not a shalom, not a way, pooled on high and ‘trickling down’…


As much as ‘trickle down’ does not work as an economic model, it works even less as a descriptor of whatever is stirring within the name of god, astir within the promise of shalom, grace and compassion…


Despite our usual perspectives, god, whatever is astir within the name, is not found on high, god does not ‘trickle down’…


God, if there is such a thing, is found deeper down, deeper still, all the way down, astir, perhaps within a plurality of names – justice, freedom, compassion, hospitality – within a call calling, a tiny light blinking into existence, a promise impossibly beckoning, inviting a response, a hand offered, the way of Yeshua actualized, made real despite uncertainties, a lack of clarity…


So – dare I hope – hearing a theopoetic promise perhaps a prayer…


The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…


So, arise, shine...


(Now I’m on my knees…)


Risk the light, risk being alive, fully alive…


Risk the way of the Christ, risk work calling, astir within the name of Yeshua…


Unto us a child is born and that child, is us…


However, lest we are sidetracked by pietistic distractions, as we draw this meditation to an end, a timely question is made manifest:


Is the appearance of effective vaccines truly a hope made manifest if we prioritize ourselves over others, giving our surplus only after all have been vaccinated here while those other, those of higher need or risk elsewhere must wait and while waiting perhaps die?


Is hope made manifest when a healthy, exceptionally low risk, 20 year old Canadian may be vaccinated before, long before, hospital workers, high risk persons in South Africa or Columbia have an opportunity?


Is hope made manifest when we share only our leftovers?


Is that hope made manifest or hope betrayed?


Is that an appearance, a making real of Yeshua’s call to all?


Is this the way of Yeshua actualized?


So, my friends, may you go in peace not in pieces…


Shalom Aleichem…