Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 6th January 2021 Epiphany
When the star had stopped
and they had seen the baby
they took a new road.
When the decorations come down
and we have heard the story
we can take a new road.
New roads can be scary.
New roads are exciting.
New roads are risky.
It is time to go.
Holy Spirit of adventure,
come with us today on our road. Amen Ruth Burgess ©Wild Goose Publications
So today the decorations come down and everything could so easily go back to normal. One thing we have learnt over the past year is that there is no guarantee about what is normal. Everything that happens in our lives changes us. Sometimes in only subtle ways, sometimes in major life altering ways. The wisemen who visited Jesus were changed by their encounters on their journey. They met Herod, who fitted exactly their image of a king: rich, powerful and self-indulgent but also devious, cruel and manipulative. Their negative impression of Herod made them open to the message in their dream, to go home another way.
They also encountered a very different king once they arrived in Bethlehem. Here in a humble manger lay the most powerful being in the universe, manifest as human flesh and bones. Here, they were struck by the fundamental realisation that real power comes not in the possession of material riches but in the outpouring of unconditional love to everyone regardless of status.
This epiphany changed them in a much more dramatic way than going home by another route. Their lives would never be the same again. The old order of their world has been totally reversed. When they arrived home, putting what they had learnt into practice was not going to be easy. Who was likely to believe them for a start? As they tried to live in a different way, they would be open to ridicule, oppression and exclusion. The power of the baby in the manger, however, was always present with them to sustain them through life’s trials.
So too, we who have waited and watched for the coming of the Christ Child this Advent and Christmastide have experienced something new. A quieter more contemplative season, full of the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we negotiated new uncharted roads. Scary, risky and potentially exciting new roads, as we learn to put people before things, generosity before greed and love before power.
My prayer for you all is that you will always travel aware of the presence of the Star-maker, Light-bringer and Holy Spirit of Adventure.