To boldy go

An Epiphany letter from Mother Katie

Dear Friends,

I’m still on holiday – working my way through Netflix and some spy novels – as well as all the chocolate in the house!

But as we enter another lockdown (can we hope our final one?) I wanted to write to you and say how much you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Today is Epiphany, the day the Magi (aka the Kings or the 3 Wise Men) arrive to worship.

And I think the Magi have an important lesson to teach the church in our times.

Because they come and lay their gold down, they offer their frankincense and give up their Myrrh. And symbolically that is both the good stuff and the bad…..the stuff that is valuable and the stuff that is about pain and suffering. At the manger, the Magi essentially teach us to offer it all – every bit of life to God.

And then because they learn to offer it all – they let the experience of meeting Jesus change their direction – despite their feelings, which would naturally want to go back the way they came and follow the familiar – they are able to listen to the voice of God, let him into their dreams and boldly go out a different way. And because they do – their lives are saved.

Think about how different it might have been. The Magi could have dismissed the dream from God– they could have thought it was just their imagination – the result of the long journey and the excitement of finding the child. It took them long enough to find Bethlehem – the last thing they felt like was perhaps an even harder journey on unknown roads to find their way home. They were exhausted and the thought of going to new places again – taking more roads they didn’t know – facing more challenge might have seemed too much. Besides Herod had seemed quite nice – hadn’t he? –And some Palace hospitality might be nice…

It is so easy and tempting to stick to what we think we know.

To go back the way we came – to continue our lives the way we have always lived them.

There is a lazy and frightened part of all of us – that would much rather stick to what we’ve done before – even if the same means more pain – than face the prospect of moving on in a different way. For change is never easy.

But that is tragic, because the story of the Magi teaches us when we won’t change our direction then we may betray what matters most.

If the Magi had returned to Herod he would certainly have forced them to betray Jesus – he may well have thrown them in jail – and even killed them.

I feel the church is being asked to protect the name of the one we worship and travel in a different direction as we come to the climax of this pandemic. Jesus (meaning God Saves) is the Messiah who comes for the vulnerable and those in need – and so we too must follow his self-sacrificial way.

Many of the worship paths we are used to will not serve us or God well if we continue on them. So we have closed the building and will experiment with finding our way again – with FB live and Twitter and Instagram, with our website and Zoom. We will activate the pastoral teams to call people and I am on the end of the phone whenever you need me – 07464 960345. It doesn’t have to be an emergency it can be because you just want a chat. And we will find games, jokes, songs and stories to help the journey pass quicker.

And I am confident that in walking together in this way we can walk each other safely home.

In Christ we have everything we need, and everything we will ever need for the journey. So let’s step into the year with confidence and anticipation at the adventure God has in store for us.

You are all very much in prayers, and I am so excited about all we will learn and achieve together this year.

Mother Katie