This Sunday we read Matthew’s story of the Wise Men. As we consider their journey, we reflect on our own. Where have we been? What have we done? Where will we go next? What will we do? I turn also to three of my favorite more contemporary guides.
The first is Frederick Buechner. His book, The Magnificent Defeat, was my first introduction to him. Reflecting on the Magi he writes: “So too, home for the three wise men and for us is not the manger where the light is gentle, and God is a child. Peace is there, the peace that passes all understanding, but it is not to be ours yet for a while. We also must depart into our own country again, where peace is not found in escape from the battle but in the very heat of battle. Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning—not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.”
We’ve made our way to Bethlehem. Now we move beyond the cradle and the stable. We look for God in the unlikely and outlandish places of our world. We take with us the angels’ song and the light that can’t be overcome.
Henri Nouwen in his daily devotional Bread for the Journey begins the year with these words. “Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”
Each day holds a gift. It takes courage to open that gift, receive it and live into it. Courage is another word for hope. Hope shapes our way in the world and with one another.
Anne Lamott closes her book, Almost Everything, with these words. “We have all we need to come through. Against all odds, not matter what we’ve lost, no matter what messes we’ve made, no matter how dark the night, we offer and are offered kindness, soul, light, and food, which create breath and spaciousness which create hope, sufficient unto the day.”
We have all we need. It’s a promise. We dare claim it. God who makes “all things possible”, and “all things new” gives it to us.
I hope you’ll join us for worship and Communion Sunday at 8 am in the Chapel, in person or on Livestream at 9:30 am. I look forward to beginning another year with you.