Saturday, December 31, 2016

Epiphany Prep: Stars

Tomorrow, my church will celebrate Epiphany.  I'm in charge of the one service.  For weeks now, I've thought I might preach on the flight into Egypt.  But this week, I've changed my mind.

In the past few days, I've seen lots of references to Epiphany stars--and there's still time to do this!

This post is the one that inspired me.  So today, I'll make a bag full of stars.  I've found a template, and I'll cut out stars and write a variety of words, one per star.  Instead of a basket, I'll pass a bag (from the gift shop at Mepkin Abbey!) around the congregation--people can reach in and grab a star.

How will we use our stars?  I will suggest that we use them as a way to focus on what God might be trying to say to us.  The wise men in the story spent years, perhaps decades, staring at the sky.  For those of us who are less patient, maybe the star from the paper bag from Mepkin Abbey will give a direction.

The word Epiphany also means an insight, often a piercing insight, a life-changing insight.  What epiphanies do we need for 2017?

I am guilty of wanting the Holy Spirit to speak in grand gestures, like a full scholarship to a seminary with living expenses covered too, not in gentle whispers.  I worry that if I want a grand gesture, the Holy Spirit will get my attention by way of the grand gesture of unemployment or something horribly negative.  My earthly spirit clearly doesn't fully trust the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps that's why the Holy Spirit tends to work in nudges and whispers.  Most of us are skittish animals, after all, easily spooked.
We've had weeks of stories of people of all sorts may be led by a star or by angel directives or choirs of heavenly hosts appearing in the sky.  But there are other ways.  Wise people year after year are led  by that steady voice that tells them to look where they haven't found success before.  I believe God speaks to us through our yearnings. 

Many people have had great success from having a word that gives focus to the year--the juxtaposition of Epiphany and New Year's Day seems fortuitous this year.  This year, my spiritual resolution/intention/goal will be led by the star that I draw out of a bag from Mepkin Abbey--and I'll let us all know how it goes.

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