|Pen and Ink Reflections||
Exploring ways into the tearing of hearts and suffering of our lives and world...
The bible reading (from John chapter 14) we just heard is particularly appropriate for today. For we say a final farewell to two people, who, individually, and together, shared a house of love – a dwelling together in deep faith, in which there were indeed many rooms, and in which peace and joy flourished. Indeed, literally, they nurtured one house in Market Rasen for 50 years, in which so much love and hospitality was shared by others...
If the Feast of the Epiphany tells us anything, it is that truly holy gifts come from surprising places. Why else would the bearers of gold, frankincense and myrrh not only be Gentiles – unclean foreigners, from other nations – but also Magi to boot? Recent Christmas tradition has called them the Wise Men, or the Three Kings, but there is nothing in the text to say that they were kings, or only male, or only three of them, or even ‘wise’ in typical Jewish understanding. In fact the word Magi may indicate the word ‘magician’, as used, disapprovingly, elsewhere in the New Testament. So we have a story today where the main bearers of the revelation of Jesus Christ, and its symbols, are potentially very dodgy outsiders indeed. Of course this is highly intentional. For, from the very start, in its genealogy of Jesus, Matthew’s Gospel is keen to tell us that God’s revelation, and salvation, involves surprising people and surprising divine moves. So it was then and remains now, if our eyes, ears and hearts are open. When I begin by saying my address this morning is inspired by a funeral I attended this week, you may therefore recognise something of that same surprising movement of our surprising God…