This is a great day to understand even better the role and place of Sacred Scripture in our lives and in our Church.
Remember, the Catholic Hermenutic—The Catholic Understanding of Sacred Scripture—I do have to say if I die and this is the only thing anyone ever remembers I will consider my life to have been a success. This book the Bible….is a Faith document, written by people of Faith, for people of Faith, to inspire Faith, it may contain historical, scientific, and biological facts, but its primary purpose is Faith….to help one another to encounter God in their lives, right here and right now.
Biblical Scholarship as nearly unanimously agreed that the story of these three “astrologers” from the East is almost certainly not a historical fact! But my friends, Truth is Truth, and even though this story most likely is not a historical event, there is a truth that lies buried in the story for us to ponder and to consider.
First, lets have some fun with our memories and our tradition. The names of the Three Astrologers/Kings/Wise Men? Let me tell you, in the Catacombs in Rome…Kathy and I actually saw it–there is one of the earliest paintings of this Epiphany story, from about end of the third century and there are only two “astrologers” …it is a story that is rich in meaning and in historicity and in tradition.
So secondly, given that this periscope is most likely not a historical event…what truth is there in it for us to uncover.
I believe strongly that one of those fundamental truths that this story conveys to and for us is the wideness of God’s embrace.
We have long had structures and laws which have limited God’s grace. I think you all know what I mean. There were laws in our history about when we could eat before mass, how much, what type of things. There were laws which if we had failed to live into that prevented us from receiving the Eucharist. There were laws about who could receive and who couldn’t.
I understand the process and history behind these laws….and yet, where we failed is to keep their spirit rather than their letter. All the laws of the Church were created to enhance our relationship with God, not to limit our experiences of God.
The challenge for us as 21st Century Old Catholic Christians, is how do we create systems and structures that are open enough to be permeable of God’s abundant grace and yet recognizable as Sacred and Communally responsible? That is just one of our challenges.
Another challenge from our story today is to a much more personal one, and that I believe maybe stated something like this:
What gifts do we lay open for our God? Does God get our best, or does God get what is left over?
Or maybe, How diligently do we search for God in our lives? Is our faith just a Saturday evening event, or is it a lived experience of our week?
Every week we close with the words reminding us that the liturgy of our lives lies in the days that lay ahead….the question becomes how do we live that liturgy?
That is one reason we will be blessing this Chalk today and inviting you to take it home…to mark your homes in whatever way you find meaningful and fulfilling. Maybe it is the front door, maybe it is the step or sidewalk or mantle or wall…..kids you must ask permission!
This is just one example of what I mean about living our liturgy.
The three astrologers studied the stars and went on their journey…..I wonder what we will do to discover the God who dwells right here in our midst?
Gracious God, we ask that you pour out your blessing on this Chalk, as we use it to set apart our homes as places in which you dwell.
May this chalk remind us that we are dust and yet even dust can make a difference in our world and in the lives of others.
May this year be for us, our friends and families a year of blessing and grace, for we ask this blessing in your Name, Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit. Amen!