January 4, 2015 – The Star – (Bourne UMC)

Isaiah 60:1-6

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.

Ephesians 3:1-12

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matthew 2:1-12

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.

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Sermon The Star

by Rebecca Hewett

As it was in the beginning it is now and ever shall be. Amen. Amen? Good Morning! Hope all of you are good!

We as people here believe in the coming, the coming of the Magi. A beginning of a new leadership team in which we will lead the world. What? In some translations the gentiles, us, were to lead the world. What? Some of us here would never consider that. We were to give our best to help others find Christ, were we not. Then how do we start to do that here as “Gentiles”?

Blessings

Our blessings start early in life here, we are loved as children, or at least we are supposed to. Our friend Connie worked with many a child who was unloved. I okayed it with her to use her name here. Did you know she worked as a social worker in the Kansas City area who after a while learned all ways to defend herself from those who were treated so poorly that they struck out at her? Others here in our congregation also held such jobs where a person can feel attacked so very easily. Here I am so easily speaking on attack while as a person, who has led such a quiet life, as I have, would never have known attack. At tack… I have known so little about being attacked. Some of us here often feel attacked as Christians. We speak regularly about it here. It is something we worry about. Here. Here in this quiet sanctuary where our lives have ended, up, quiet, peaceful, still full of beauty from our Christmas. But let us talk about the responsibility of our “Gentile” work here on God’s earth. Let us go back a few years to a time when we as Christians felt that we were in the majority here on earth. Or at least we were told we were the majority here. Our lives were full of peace and prosperity, or they felt as if we had left the blackness of a war. Any such war. For we seem always to be at war. It was a great time here. Problems associated with such a world at war such as pollution of our waters and our airs. No. no.

We are here to discuss the coming of the Magi. A time when God sent a star for us to follow. Are we not in the same position today? Are we not in the same belief today? Are we not still following that star? A star with a light so bright that we can almost blow out a candle and it becomes us. We are one in the spirit that God gave us to be. We are one in the spirit here in this small sanctuary with windows glazed in beautiful colored glass.

Stained

In a recent article on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, it explained the decline in the need for stained glass windows. We feel here that we hold such a beautiful place dear. Did you know that we are slowly losing our great stained glass window places? Ones like this. Companies are going out of business. It has become more popular to place a clear glass in the place of a stained glass for it is considered more contemporary-more up to date, easier to explain, so to speak. A world filled with stained glass has become passé. Out of date. It is hard to explain and to understand why it is not still working here in this good church we own and in which we provide weekly services to our God who loves us and cares for just us few here. Why is the world so filled with pain and why is the world so filled with tragedy? Both conditions bring us to closure here each week as we ask in our prayers and concerns for aid from God, the Father, to come to help each one of us who have failed to bring the light of Christ out into this great world in which we live.

Omak

I often think of my former Pastor. Pastor Sue. A woman, small in size, who journeyed from academia to serve in a small impoverished town, Omak, found in Washington State, on the border of Canada and to lead those there. She told us good weekly stories of those town folk, the ones there. Here we go again shifting gears to present a new idea, one of hope for our world, one for peace to be found here. After all we follow a God of Love who showed us great peace here at a time of great war. The Kings, our Kings, the magi, approached the land where a good man was born, a man who would grow strong one day in his faith to lead his people out of war. In a way, it explains here why we do not understand a need to give each other our own light. Pastor Sue would raise her robed and narrow arms, preaching as if her limbs could reach toward the sky to grasp for an explanation of why we cannot understand our own gifts, our own failings. Sue tried to understand the people, her people, just as we try to understand ours each day. Should we not bring as much good light and care as we can into this area.

Love, Not Stained

We have waited here a long time. We here in this church often seek salvation so it is common to assume that the word simply means to be able to see the light, so to speak, the star. But we need to know that here we often miss this light. We see instead a church home filled with people we love who are very close to perfect in our eyes, so that we do not feel the shame associated with not loving all mankind as we should. Why do I sound so harsh here? Did you not notice the beginning of a new season in the good year of this church? The season of light? It is upon us here at Bourne. Epiphany. It is time for us to see the star and to understand that it is God’s light we are seeing and not our own light. We are simply mirrors, reflecting the hopes and dreams of God in each one of us. Let us all here now understand that we the people of this church need to understand the love we feel each day in each of us, is here. We are people of a United Church who need to understand we are one of many churches who love God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. Amen.