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02 January 2022
This morning our 10 am service was a Family Communion, and we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany. As Father Roger pointed out in his sermon, this marks the arrival of the Three Wise Men, as recorded in Matthew's Gospel. Using some very clever visual aids he demonstrated the amazing story of God putting his glory aside and becoming human like us and subject to all the problems that humans must bear. 
We sang 'We Three Kings' as the offertory hymn, and the three wise men paraded to the crib with their gifts, thanks to the Sunday School!

There was no anthem as the Choir is in recess until next week. There was coffee after the service.
This coming week we go back to 'normal' with choir practice and Sunday School at their usual times.

Next week we will have the Archdeacon with us at 10 am.




The wise men arrived at the crib, they parked their Camels outside!






The Star precedes the Wise ones with their gifts to the Crib


 



Isaiah 60:1-6

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.


Matthew 2:1-12

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

In the time of King Herod, 
after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, 
wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, 

“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? 
For we observed his star at its rising,
and have come to pay him homage.” 

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, 
and all Jerusalem with him; 

and calling together 
all the chief priests and scribes of the people, 
he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 

They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; 
for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men
and learned from them the exact time 
when the star had appeared. 

Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 
“Go and search diligently for the child; 
and when you have found him, 
bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 

When they had heard the king, they set out; 
and there, ahead of them, 
went the star that they had seen at its rising,
until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

When they saw that the star had stopped,
they were overwhelmed with joy. 

On entering the house, 
they saw the child with Mary his mother; 
and they knelt down and paid him homage. 
Then, opening their treasure chests, 
they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they left for their own country by another road.


Address

Jesus came as a baby at Christmas. The Epiphany season is about everyone seeing what Jesus is really all about.

Today we have the Wise Men, following a star to find baby Jesus. It doesn’t say there were three Wise Men, it doesn’t say they were actually kings, but it says that they were from the East. That means that they were not Jewish, not from God’s people, they were outsiders. So we learn that Jesus has come for everyone! They were a group of Wise Men, bringing three gifts.

If the Wise Men saw the star and then undertook a long difficult journey, baby Jesus would have grown up a bit before they arrived. In fact, we read that Mary and Joseph had moved out of the stable and into a house by the time they arrived. The Wise Men, it has been thought, were scholars from the ancient Zoroastrian religion of Persia. Astronomers or astrologers, studying the stars, but they were people trying hard to get to the truth, and that’s normally a very good thing.

These days we have Professor Brian Cox studying the heavens. He points out that the stars have made us what we are, and our star, the sun, keeps us alive. At one level that is doubtless very true. But he has said that we don’t need to invent any other gods apart from the stars, and we would certainly argue with that. A star will not inspire us to love and morality, good behaviour, and hope for the individual, or anything non-technical. Allan Jenkins, who used to be the priest-in-charge here, and I, both studied Physics at a certain college in London, and our professors and teachers contained a surprisingly large sprinkling of Godly people.

You may remember that before Archdeacon Luke came, we had a temporary Acting Archdeacon. He was called David Twinley, and he gave us an address on the Greek concept of kenosis. I’m sure you recall it - vividly? That idea is in St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, chapter 2. It is about God wanting to come among us on earth in Jesus’ life, and so the second person of the Trinity, (who is the Word of God) had to ‘empty himself’, and ‘lay aside his heavenly glory’, to do the job. The Father is the first person of the Trinity, and the Holy Spirit the third. The second person, the Word of God, would ‘empty himself and lay aside his heavenly glory’ to be alongside us in Jesus.

Before this gets boring, we’ve found a use for the star. It can be a sort of picture.

Long ago, God could sometimes seem to be a bit like our star, the sun. God there, but far away, having made us, loving us, but a long way away. Giving us life…. but a long way away.

To get close, God must lay aside his glory and empty himself. How do we show that? Well, we can chop off the spiky bits of the star, and we get….. Doesn’t that look nice? What do you mean, ‘No?’

We’ll have to try again, chop more off, so that the star can really come down among us. There’re still some little bumps on it. We’ll chop them off! You can’t see very well so I’ve coloured in where we’ve chopped them, to make it clear.

I think that some of you children are the sort to give a good kicking to a truncated icosahedron. Does anyone want to confess?

Well we’ll chop the bumps off. Can anyone guess what we will get? A football. That is really down-to-earth. In fact, it hits on the ground rather a lot, it has a rough time, it gets kicked around.

That can remind us that God coming down to earth was costly. Jesus would get hurt and killed when he came to help us.

Even while Jesus was still a baby, Mary and Joseph had to become refugees in Egypt to save him from nasty King Herod. But it would all end well, and if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t be in church today, and there wouldn’t be a Church!



(We went from stellated icosahedron to icosahedron to truncated icosahedron.)

Fr Roger

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links


Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:


  1. St Mary's Facebook page
  2. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  3. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  4. Prayer for today.
  5. The C of E youtube channel.
  6. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  7. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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