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Sermon Notes

December 31, 2017
Sunday before Epiphany

Fellow Asburians: The Men's Group will kick off the New Year and will meet this Thursday evening, January 4, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm upstairs in the youth room at Asbury Memorial.

Link to this sermon

This is the time of epiphany, with the signature story, and today's scripture from Matthew, being that of the Magi visiting the Christ child. They travelled a long way, led by God. Whether they were real or not is a matter of conjecture for as Billy said we know very little about them. They do however represent, metaphorically, a spiritual journey to find God.

This is a great time to pause and reflect on the underlying question asked by the sermon: "How far are you willing to travel, either inwardly or outwardly to find God?" And once you start exploring that question here are some companion questions that you may want to reflect on as well. What does this journey look like for you? Does it require a change to what you are doing now? How long will this journey take? How will you be guided? Happy travels and happy discussions with your fellow travelers.

Billy opens Sunday's Sermon, "A Great Routine for 2018" talking about the 12 days of Christmas ending on January 6 with the Day of Epiphany. The day when something hidden is revealed. Billy goes on to say that todays scripture represents the point in the evolution of Christianity where to doors were thrown open to accept all, Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would go on in his life to demonstrate the radical inclusivity that shook the then religious world and became the early hallmark of Christianity.

Billy further develops today's message, by asking us what this journey looks like for each of us. Is it a new way of prayer, learning about a new religion or simply just reaching out to someone and extending love? So why do we bother, why did the Magi travel so far to see the Christ child? Scripture tells us that the beginning of wisdom is the understanding of a power greater than ourselves and how that power plays a part in our daily lives. Billy then reminds us of the benefits of the communal aspects of worshipping God and reminds us that although God can be found everywhere and is the same everywhere, we are not. In a place of trust, like our sanctuary, we are more open to love and to hearing God's message.

As Billy moves towards the close, he playfully compares spiritual fitness to physical fitness, reminding us that the spiritual journey requires dedication, stamina and faith. If it is not part of our daily routine, hence the name of today's sermon, its effectiveness will fade.

Billy closes with a poem by Ann Weems, a Presbyterian elder and popular poet, and a prayer asking us not to limit our God or put Christ in a box, but to be star watchers and to watch with our hearts and recognize the epiphanies that appear in our iives.

Love and Blessings,

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