"I've found Jesus!"
Feast of the Epiphany
Church of the Ascension
January 6, 2011
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” --Roald Dahl
One day, about ten years ago I was at work on a hot, mid-July day. I had left my husband at home, sick. About mid-day, the phone rang, and I said, “Hello.” My husband said, without introduction, “I’ve found Jesus!” I paused for a minute, and replied, “How terrific for you. How high is that fever, exactly?” He said, “No, no. You don’t understand. I’ve found Jesus. He was under the sofa!” I said, “This conversation is not improving.”
After we had both stopped laughing, Dave explained. You see, the only thing I collect is nativity scenes. We had a few by that point, and you can see several of them on display with many others in the parlor tonight. One year, when we packed up the nativities, one baby Jesus from one of our tinier sets was missing. We assumed that one of our cats had knocked it off, or eaten it, or something like that. We didn’t have a child yet, so we couldn’t blame her. But we looked everywhere, and there was no Jesus to be found.
For some reason, Dave looked under the sofa that hot July day, at home and sick. But he didn’t just find what he was looking for. He also found a tiny baby Jesus, who had rolled underneath the sofa, and remained hidden, until just that moment. I think we can all tell stories about finding Jesus in unlikely places, but usually it’s not quite so literal.
The feast of the Epiphany is one of my favorites of the whole year, because it tells the story of seekers who find Jesus in the most unlikely of places. It is the story of a journey, of people who travel long, dusty distances at great personal cost, following a star. Imagine if you went in to work, or to your family one day, and said, “I’ve seen a star. I’ve got to follow it, because I think it leads to something important...to something life changing! I can’t live the way I’ve been living - I’ve got to go find this new thing that’s coming into the world!” People would think you were out of your mind.
But that’s what we’ve all done - haven’t we? We’ve followed a star - or a neighbor - or a family member. Something led us into this church tonight, seeking something. What was it for you? The promise of lovely music? Fellowship over a nice dinner? Sharing the bread and the wine of the Eucharist? Or have you been drawn to this place by your quest for the living Christ? Have you, too, seen his star in the East? Or have you seen Him at work in the life of your friend... or your parent...or your neighbor? Have you felt his presence in your own life? Are you here because your heart yearns for a relationship with the incarnate God?
Like the Magi, we have come tonight seeking someone who is greater that ourselves. The wise men seek someone they can only barely describe to an incredulous and jealous Herod. Despite obstacles, they persist in their journey. They arrive at a most unlikely destination and find the very thing they seek, and they are overwhelmed with joy. They offer up the best gifts they can - themselves.
The best gift the people of God have to offer to a Saviour who came among us as a child is our own servant hearts. God desires a people driven to seek out and serve the Messiah - people driven to their knees in surprise and awe to worship the Savior who came to live among us. In our journey, we are all Magi. We persist in that journey, in spite of ourselves, in spite of obstacles in our way. And why? Why do we continue to seek Him out? We seek Him because our hearts yearn for Him, because sometimes we have a moment where we meet the incarnate Christ, face to face.
What do you seek tonight? Like the Magi, did you come here to seek the Messiah? A child who will grow to a man, who will minister to his friends, who will suffer...who will offer himself in love for all people? Because that God is here always - in the people that surround us - in the prayers - in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Jesus Christ is aways in the lives and hearts of the people whom he loves. Christ lives in each of our hearts, and he is not bound by a manger, or a church, or a season, or a time.
Tonight, as we leave this place to continue on our journey, my wish for each of us is that we may one day say, “I’ve found Jesus, the incarnate Christ. I saw him in the most unlikely of places. He was with me all the while. I just didn’t see him, until I sought him out.”
May you find what you seek this Epiphany night, and may we all find joy in that journey, together.