The first All Age Service of 2020 kicked off the New Year in great fashion with a brimming St Mary’s. Tim Clapp and the band led us through a wonderful service as we celebrated Epiphany – the day when we remember the Wise Men visiting the Christ child and when Christ was first revealed to the gentiles.
The bible story was read from Bob Hartman’s Rhyming Bible, which had the whole congregation getting involved, with the children playing the Wise Men, Mia Greig as the star, James and Becky Cheeseman as Mary and Joseph, Theo Mezger as Herod’s Priest and a very fierce Richard Hunt playing Herod, the rest of the congregation did a fabulous job providing the sound of the camel hooves.
James Greig gave the following short talk:
I have a very special friend with me today, but we can’t see him. I have some clues to help us find my special friend. Can you help find him?
Clue: My Friend is smallish, yellow, quite old, he’s sitting up high, up a small set of stairs, where normally people in a dog collar go.
Yes, my 35-year old teddy was hiding in the pulpit, just as I gave you clues to help reveal my special teddy bear – so did God 2000 years ago.
God wanted to reveal his son to the world, he wanted to do so in a way that was truly undeniable – so he created two very big clues to help the Magi find the young Jesus, can anyone remember from the story what the two clues were?
The Star: Yes, it has now been proven by astrologers that 2000 years ago there was definitely a bright light in the night sky over the Middle East, some experts say it was a comet or more likely three planets aligning.
The Prophesies: Hundreds and thousands of years before Jesus was born, his birth was for foretold in about 7/8BC by the prophets Isaiah and Micah. They wrote about Kings visiting and bringing gifts.
The Wise Men or Magi, knew these clues didn’t just lead to any baby, but a very very important baby. They travelled far over very rough terrain, I’ve been to that area and its very hot and dusty and freezing at night – there were no planes or trains in those days, so it would have been a very hard and long journey, it would have also cost them a great deal – but they knew it was worth it, they were to meet a very special person.
Eventually they found him and they gave him gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – these were gifts only commonly given to Kings.
Today, God wants us to find Jesus too, he hasn’t given us a star, but he has given us plenty of clues. What clues can we think of?
The Bible: Here we can read Jesus’ story and hear all his teachings.
Creation: Just by looking outside we get a glimpse of Jesus in the beauty of his creation.
Each Other: When we hear what Christ is doing in each other’s lives we see how he works through each of us.
Prayer: Through talking to God, he hears us and we hear from him.
Like the Wise Men, when we are serious about finding Jesus, we will!
Listen to this – God has made an amazing promise in the bible:
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. – Jeremiah 29: 13-14 (The Message)
As we go into 2020 can I encourage you to keep looking for Jesus. And if you’ve found him already, deepen your relationship with him this year, you won’t be disappointed. Personally, I’ve just downloaded the Bible in a Year App, which is my way of seeking him further, just as the Wise Men did.
Let’s end with a prayer:
Heavenly Father – just as the Wise Men searched and found you, this year would we continue to seek you in a new way. Amen
The service ended with us all sharing a slice of a ‘Galette de Roi’ of King Cake, beautifully baked by Nora Haywood.