Now that Christmas is over we’re in the season of Epiphany in the Church, when we remember the visit of the ‘Magi’ or ‘Wise Men’ to worship the baby Jesus. Although in our Christmas Carol services and nativities we usually include these visitors from the East at the same time as the Shepherds visited Jesus, scholars think that actually they came some time a little later than the actual day of Jesus’ birth. The arrival of these non-Jews from a different land to pay homage to Jesus and bring him gifts shows that Jesus has come not just for the Jews but for all the nations of the world – including us!
I was doing a reflection on this biblical story the other day by listening to something called ‘Pray as you Go’ through my phone. They read the story of the Magi from Matthew Chapter 2 and talked about the gifts that the wise men brought – not the most useful things for a normal new-born baby, but things completely appropriate for Jesus, as Caro explained in her recent ‘thought for the week’.
The reflection then went on to encourage us, as some music played, to pray and ask God what gift he would like us to bring him. This seemed to make sense at the start of the New Year, so I prayed accordingly. I expected God to ask me to offer my obedience, or my service, in the coming year, or maybe to ‘feed my sheep’ or ‘spread the good news’ or something like that. I was taken aback when I felt God say, ‘I just want your love’!
It reminded me that, although it’s a privilege to serve God here in Lodge Moor and to be the shepherd of the ‘flock’ of St. Luke’s, God doesn’t value me because of the things I do for him – he just loves me, and he wants me to love him in return.
We’d normally be having our annual Covenant service in Church around this time – a special service where we commit to following God and living for him in the coming year. The Covenant Prayer is below if you’d like to pray it yourself – it’s quite a prayer to pray! But over the years I’ve come to realise that God knows better how to run my life than I do! Although I’m always tempted to want to control things myself, I know I can safely commit myself into God’s hands, because he loves me and wants what’s best for me for the long term, not just what seems apparent right now.
God reminded me that the main thing he wants from me this year is simply my love, and that everything I do for him, should spring from that. I think that’s a good way for me to start this year! Rev Chris Epiphany 2021
The Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’