Epiphany 2019 Sermon Fr. Michael Cawthon
The Ephiphany 2019:
“The nations shall march towards thy light
and their kings towards
the brightness of thy rising” Isaiah 60:3
Today we read of “wise men” who as Isaiah said:
have marched forth towards the light and brightness of its rising.
– and they now arrive to see for themselves this new born King of the Jews…
Last week I spoke of Christ coming to set us free –
yes we are “Free at last”,
to free us from a salvation that is earn through obeying of laws and commandments;
and He has given us the gift of salvation through faith…
which is freely given to each of us by God.
Epiphany: meaning “manifestation” (some call it “a showing forth)
Is observed on January 6th, and originated in the Eastern Church
and is mentioned as far back as Clement of Alexandria in 200 AD.
The Magi, are seen as representatives, of the non-Jews, to whom Christ came…
and they brought gifts which symbolized the aspects of the life of Jesus Christ:
gold for his kingship,
frankincense (incense) for his priesthood,
and myrrh (spice) for his death…
In earlier days during Epiphany, churches would often hang a shining star from its roof (not a bad idea),
and the festival was sometimes called “The Feast of the Star.”
In today’s Collect we pray: “God has manifested his only begotten Son to the Gentiles”…
And in the Epistle (Eph. 3) God has made known,
“by the church
the manifold wisdom of God”
and has made known the
“unsearchable” riches of Christ…
The Greek word from which “UNSERACHABLE” is derived is ä-ne-ksēkh-/nē’-ä-stos means:
“that (which) cannot be searched out, that (which) cannot be comprehended” (thus unsearchable)
AND RICHES….of the “unsearchable riches”;
comes from the Greek word Ploutos plü’-tos (Key) pronounced (Plu toss)
meaning a “fulness, abundance, a plenitude – by which one is enriched”
So, Paul is telling us that what we see is
what God has made known to us
although incomprehensible – (that “which cannot be comprehended”)
through the enriching of us,
through His Church:
thus providing us an abundance of “riches” –
of knowledge to direct and live our lives.
This proclaiming of the unsearchable riches of Christ
was not only for the Gentiles (Acts 9:15)
But also to KINGS, AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
As well, not only must the mystery of the unsearchable riches of Christ be set forth,
(for the mystery is great and marvelous – for it reveals Salvation.)
But Paul also speaks of
FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY…
within a fellowship, that is not of this sinful world,
but of all things by Jesus Christ:
to the intent that now
unto THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES
must be made KNOWN,
BY HIS CHURCH, …
Through Which is: THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD!
The Gospel this morning tells the story of the wise men from the east,
the Magi, traveling to Jerusalem,
there came “wise men” from the east to Jerusalem, saying,
Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east,
and are come to worship him.
According to church tradition there were three wise men
named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, and they brought gifts to the holy Child.
We all know this story is to show the manifestation of Christ;
however; they came to “to worship him”
So they ask Herod – where is he?
Obviously they had asked the wrong person – for Herod had not a clue and had to ask of the Jewish Church and of their scripture prophesy (of, I Samuel, Isaiah, and of Micah)
the Jews told him without hesitation –
In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda,
art not the least among the princes of Juda:
for out of thee shall come a Governor,
that shall rule my people Israel.
This day, some 2000 years later, many of us walk the same road as the Magi asking
Where is He?
There is gross ignorance in the world and even within the Church…
as some seek guidance from those who are strangers themselves.
Those who have strayed away from the
Traditional and Historical Church
create among themselves a “new” religion…
with modern explanations and meanings.
a religion which is so sadly –
void of its earlier self.
I know that some people within our own Parish are going through difficult times, many hurt, and are even depressed;
and yet, as we look around, it is easy to be deceived by the perceived happiness of the world around us and within some churches.
My beloved brethren, don’t listen to me, but listen, understand, and accept His words:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Therefore, I simply say that it is only through Jesus Christ, that there can be Peace:
It is only with Christ
firmly entrenched within your life
(your heart, soul, and mind)
that will you find that peace
which the Magi found
as they fell down on their knees before their
Remove harshness of tongue and heart, and replace it, and feed it, with God’s Love and His Sacraments – given for you,
through HIS CHURCH as Paul proclaimed earlier.
If lost or not found, regain hope for your future – – –
the hope of His Glory,
“Jesus has come for you“
the future does not have to be – as it was.”
With Christ – the past is not where we dwell, as we look forward to the future
and walk into the future with He who loves you
and so deeply cares for you – that He will die for you.
The Magi are a good example for Christ’s Church….
They separated themselves and traveled together to worship the Lord…
They “Fell down, and did worship him”
In a town named Bethlehem – “The House of Bread.”
This same bread of life that came down from Heaven, is still with us here today.
And as the Magi were within the real presence of Almighty God,
we too, right here this morning,
are within the “Real Presence of the Almighty God.”
Just as the Magi gathered to make this long trip,
let us gather together so that we
may finally begin our journey Home to Our God,
Our Lord and Saviour,
yes let us adore Him…
And let us,
as did the Magi,
come unto him and fall down upon our knees
that we may come, as one, together unto Him.
The hour cometh and now is….