Saturday, January 04, 2014

What can I give him?

What can I give him?
This week we bring the 12 days of Christmas to an end with the Epiphany on January 6th.
Epiphany means manifestation or revelation and traditionally we focus of the coming of the Wise Men, the revelation of Jesus to the whole world. The manifestation of God to those who are seeking. The showing forth of the mystery of human life in the context of the eternal plan of God.
This is a big and important story for the whole of the creation and the universe

Readings could be Isaiah 60:1-16, Psalm 72, Ephesians 3:1-12, and of course Matthew 2:1-12, 13-23

No better Christmas Carol has been written than Christina Rosetti’s simple  words in “In the bleak mid winter?” (There is a certain irony for us where some centres  in the State have experienced temperatures in the high 40s)....
But in the last verse of that carol she writes with typical Victorian piety

What can I give Him,Poor as I am?If I were a shepherdI would bring a lamb,If I were a wise manI would do my part,Yet what I can I give Him,Give my heart.
Here is an amazing version of the carol on YouTube

The words may seem overly sentimental and romantic to us. But that does not mean that they lack truth.

The important thing they remind us is that Christmas, the manifestation and knowledge of a matter of the heart.

This is not Valentine’s Day sort of sentimentality.
This is about Passion 
the word that will recur again and again God’s story.
Are we passionate about God?

St John warns one of the early churches that they are neither hot nor cold
they are lukewarm
and he says that this tepidity
will cause God to spew them out.
I sometimes shudder when I read this,
as I think people will look at us
and see that we are lukewarm.
Perhaps we should not be surprised that 
the world looks at the Churches and rejects us
Christina Rosetti,  like St Paul, like countless other saints
reminds us that what we should be bringing to God is not our apathy
not our pettiness, or our small vision
But it should be the stuff that is in our hearts.

What is in our hearts?
It is a good question
are we lukewarm
are care-less
do we lack passion
and indeed faith-less.

In our prayers, and in our Christian lives
should be the things that lie in our hearts
Those we love,
the things that enrage us,
because of injustice and inequality.
Those things that excite and enthuse us.

If we critique our lives, our worship, our parish
Do we find this...

Loving hearts, aflame for God.
Excited about the message of forgiveness, 
of love
of acceptance and tolerance.

If we cannot bring our hearts
we have nothing else to bring

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