Sermon for Epiphany III
Jesus healing the servant of the Centurion, Paulo Veronese, c. 1585
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
A Sermon by Fr William Martin, 22nd January, 2022
Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.
Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans xii. 16)
Thus far in the season of Epiphany, we have been invited to see and perceive the manifestation and revelation of Divine wisdom, love, and power in the life of Jesus Christ. We have followed the Star that realigns and adjusts human vision to the origin of all truth and meaning in human life. We have seen His star in the east, and art come to worship Him…(St. Matthew ii. 2) We have learned that out of the centrifugal point of eternity’s re-appropriation of time in the life of the young Jesus, Divine Wisdom informs and arrests the attention of the One who will save all men. Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business…(St. Luke ii. 49) We have gleaned also that this life is the redemption that makes new and potent spiritual wine that longs to be poured into the hearts and souls of them that seek God. But thou hast kept the best wine until now. (St. John ii. 10) Love, wisdom, and power reveal themselves to us in Epiphany as marks of the Saviour’s intention to do even greater things than these. (St. John xiv. 12) And the greater things than these will involve not only what God does in Jesus Christ then and there, but what Jesus will do in us here and now. Epiphany’s patterns extend into the present to ensure our pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God.
The image of the transformation that Epiphany brings to us is pictured this morning in Jesus’ encounter with a Roman Centurion. A centurion was a professional officer in the Roman Legion who commanded roughly one hundred men. He, like the soldiers under his rule, would have been a celibate –Roman soldiers were not permitted to marry until active duty was completed. So, perhaps for the Roman Centurion in this morning’s Gospel, his military battalion was his family for a season, comprised of soldiers who were the subjects of his constant care. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. (St. Matthew viii. 5) Capernaum is the home of Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew the tax collector. In addition, it was the home of a Roman garrison, and thus of our Centurion. Oddly enough the pagan Centurion supplicates Jesus and addresses Him as Lord. Jesus responds and says, I will come and heal him. (St. Matthew viii. 7) But the Centurion protests, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (St. Matthew viii. 8) No doubt, he had heard of Jesus’ power from others, has witnessed His miracles, and is taking his proper position under a commander of another kind.
In any case, the presence of Divine wisdom, love, and power in Jesus Christ had arrested the Centurion. He sensed that he was in the presence of a holy being. So holy was this being that the Centurion thought himself unworthy to merit Jesus’ visitation to his earthly abode. So holy was this being that the Centurion felt that Christ might be soiled and sullied through contact with him or his family. Yet in his confession, through the keen perception of his own nature in the presence of the all-holy, the Centurion’s humility is what proves to be instrumental in the healing of his servant and himself. Only a humility, like that found in the Centurion, can elicit from Christ the transformation of God’s Grace. Conscious of his own moral and spiritual corruption, disabused of his own self-importance, conscious of the faulty towers made by men, the Centurion’s soul becomes the space that lives on faith, anticipates with hope, and rests in the love that he does not yet possess. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (St. Matthew viii. 9) This man has experience with authority and obedience. In the earthly domain of Caesar, he has the power to command and exact obedience. He speaks the word and it is done. Notice, also, tht he says, I am a man under authority. I too must obey, I too must enact the wishes of my superiors, and I too must follow. I am subject and accountable to one much greater than myself, and yet this ruler of mine is nothing in comparison with thee, O Lord! Thus, he knows that he must secure help from one far greater than any earthly ruler. His perception of the all-holiness emanating and manifesting itself from the being of Jesus commands him to seek out and follow Him in faith and hope. He knows that the power of God in Jesus is alone sufficient to heal his servant. With his own feeble desire, he reaches out to secure the merciful power of Christ. With a sincere and simple longing for the healing of his servant, he seeks out Jesus. He seeks out Jesus in faith. He is moved by what he longs to secure on behalf of his servant whom he loves as neighbor to himself.
The faith that Jesus finds in this Centurion’s soul is what He came down from heaven to redeem and perfect. St. Augustine reminds us, this faith is of such a nature that it says, if then I a man under authority have the power of commanding, what power must Thou have, whom all powers serve? The Centurion knows all about earthly power. He knows that it is limited, fickle, unreliable, and usually self-serving. The power he perceives in Jesus seems naturally inclined to spread healing, goodness, and truth. It seems also to come from a source that is impeded by no boundaries and knows no bounds. The Centurion surmises too that it must come from God since it acts in a way that is free of all prejudice and seeks not His own. Speak (or send) the Word only, and my servant shall be healed. (St. Matthew viii. 8) The Centurion believes that the Word of God in Jesus is capable of remaining in place and yet travelling great distances to heal all manner of sicknesses. God spake the word and they were made; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm xxxiii. 9) The Centurion Roman believes that the redeeming Word of God in Jesus is the Power that made the world.
When Jesus heard this Centurion’s confession of faith, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (St. Matthew viii. 10, 11) What He finds is a faith that does not need for Jesus to be present physically to heal his servant. The Centurion earnestly seeks out only the assurance that Jesus will send God’s healing Word. What Jesus finds is the prayer that every man must make if he believes truly that Christ will bear our sorrows and our cares and supply all our manifold needs and help us to put our whole trust and confidence in Him. (Prayer for Sick: BCP Canada 1962)
This is the message of our Epiphany-tide. But it comes also with a real warning. Jesus says that the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (St. Matthew viii. 12) What He means is that Christians -like the religious Jews whom Jesus rebukes, who think that tradition and ritual alone will save them are mistaken. Many religious people think that mere church attendance and ritual observance will carry them to God’s Kingdom. Other religious people think being Anglican or being a member of some other denomination will save them. Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (St. Matthew vii. 7) Salvation is not awarded to those who show up and go through the motions. Nor is salvation just for other people. Salvation comes to those who believe truly that they are in dire need of God’s power and cure. Jesus Christ does not wish to be adored as a concept, idea, or notion. Jesus Christ does not come only to remembered later as one of the world’s great, dead heroes. Jesus Christ intends to be embraced and held in the human heart, in which He can work all manner of healing and salvation.
Our Centurion had a vision of God in Jesus, and with humility, he longed for Christ’s love to heal his servant. From the ground of his own humble self-emptying, he reached out with every fiber of his being to procure the healing power of God in Jesus Christ. We must ask ourselves: Do we need this healing power in our lives? Are we sinners in need of salvation? We hear so much sighing, moaning, and groaning in our world. What, exactly, is the problem? We fear earthly illness? What about our souls? How are they? Sick, by all accounts. Our souls should be aching because of the sin needs to be worked out so that the righteous healing power of Jesus Christ can be worked in. This is what the vision of God’s shining forth, his showing forth, is meant to accomplish in Epiphany-tide. Be not wise in your own conceits, but… condescend to men of low estate. (Romans xii. 16) St. Paul means that we should, with the Centurion, bow down, realistically acknowledge our lowliness, and identify with the mean condition of our fallen humanity. He means that, with the Centurion, we should seek out the benefits of Christ’s healing not only for ourselves but for others also.
Today we must ask ourselves, Do we see ourselves truly in the Epiphany illumination that reveals our own deepest need for Christ the Light? Are we pouring out our complaint to Christ? The prayer of faith is the prevailing supplication that must consume our lives. Speak and send thy Word and my servant shall be healed. Speak and send thy Word and I shall be healed. If we are true Christians, we must pray for ongoing healing. The good prayer that we make for others will heal them in God’s time. The good prayer will heal us too because our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness. Then with the Centurion, we shall feel the operative energy of our loving Saviour, who says, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant, [and his own soul], were healed in the selfsame hour. (St. Matthew viii. 13)
January 16, 2022
Fr. William Martin
(The Sermon for Epiphany Sunday follows below after this one)
The Wedding at Cana, Veronese, c. 1563
They have no wine…(St. John ii. 3)
Epiphany means manifestation or shining forth. And the Epiphany season has been set apart in the Church as a time for Christians to consider the meaning and will of God the Father as revealed in the human life of Jesus Christ His only-begotten Son. In this season we contemplate the Divinity of Christ ministering to us through His humanity as we encounter it on the pages of Holy Scripture. On this Second Sunday in Epiphany, in particular, we find God’s power over nature revealed through Jesus. But we find this power only after He has revealed to us the priority of Divine Wisdom in the face of the limitations of human reason. For while God comes into the world to save us, He also takes our nature upon Him so that He can realign our hearts with His rule and governance in human life. Jesus will teach us that the same God whose Wisdom rules and governs all of creation, desires to claim our allegiance also. He will begin to reveal this truth to us through the exchange He has with His Mother in today’s Gospel.
When we think of wisdom, we think of human wisdom or what used to be called prudence. In the Gospels, no better example of that prudence exists than in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Virgin was, you will remember, astounded, and perhaps even alarmed when the Angel Gabriel visited her prior to the conception of God’s Son in her womb. How can this be, she wondered prudently? Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce through her own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed. (St. Luke ii. 35) The Blessed Virgin pondered these things in her heart because she was often confused and flummoxed. Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing, (St. Luke ii. 48) she exclaims this morning. Through prudence she struggled to understand her son. Wist ye not, He responded, that I must be about my Father’s business? (St. Luke ii. 49) And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. (Ibid, 50) Humility and prudence urged her to silence. But, again,Mary kept all of these things and pondered them in her heart. (Ibid, 51)
To be fair to the Blessed Virgin, human wisdom or prudence is essential to acting with virtue. It is the perfected ability to make the right decisions. (The Four Cardinal Virtues: Pieper, p. 6) Yet human wisdom can also be elevated onto a higher plane when God opens the human mind to a heavenly end. We find this in this morning’s Gospel, where we read that on the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there with both Jesus and His disciples. (St. John ii, 1) At the outset, we should rejoice to learn that Jesus blesses the institution of Holy Matrimony. The Holy Union of male and female is Divinely ordained, and Christ will reveal how the wisdom in it points to a heavenly end.
Cana means zeal, and Galilee means passage. On this third day, then, Jesus will embrace Holy Matrimony with zeal and transform it as a rite of passage to the Father’s Kingdom. Thomas Aquinas tells us that, this marriage was celebrated in the zeal of a passage, to suggest that those persons are most worthy of union with Christ who, burning with the zeal of a conscientious devotion, pass over from the state of guilt to the grace of the Church. (STA, Comm. on St. John) The married couple is celebrating that zeal of passage, devoting themselves the one to the other so that the two shall be one flesh. (Gen. ii. 24) Marriage reveals a conscientious devotion that purifies affection and orders human love. And Jesus Christ, God’s Word, Wisdom, and Plan made flesh rejoices to bless and perfect the devotion of those who will follow Him conscientiously to God’s Kingdom.
But being the good Jewish mother that she is, the Blessed Virgin becomes consumed with the earthly elements that should contribute to the perfection of the marriage celebration. So, she tugs at Jesus’ tunic and exclaims, they have no wine. (St. John ii. 3) Jesus seems irritated. O, woman what is that to me and thee? (St. John ii, 4) A better translation would be: Woman what does your concern have to do with me? (Orthodox Study Bible transl.) Or what do you expect me to do about it? For, He adds, mine hour is not yet come. (Ibid, 4) Jesus, as last week’s Gospel reminded us, must be about [His] Father’s business. (St. Luke ii, 49). He means no disrespect to His earthly mother, but she does not grasp the true meaning of His Heavenly mission. Her motherly prudence and concern arise from a fear that the perfect wedding is about to come to an abrupt halt. She does not yet grasp how Holy Matrimony is an outward and visible sign of that conscientious devotion that moves from guilt to blessedness through God’s Grace.
But Jesus’ Wisdom is not of this world. His concern is for a kind of wine that will overflow perfectly at a kind of wedding she cannot yet imagine. What does your concern have to do with me? Mine hour is not yet come. (Ibid, 4) Have you forgotten what kind of marriage you have with my Heavenly Father’s Spirit that brought about my earthly Birth? Mary is silenced and probably shamed by the rebuke of the Wisdom of God in her Son. Acquiescing to His Wisdom, she instructs the hired servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (Ibid, 5) Whatever or whoever her Son is, He is to be heeded. Her fear of earthly embarrassment for the bride’s parents collapses in the presence of Heaven’s plan. She remembers that her Son Jesus should be called the Son of the Highest…and of his kingdom there should be no end. (St. Luke i. 32-33) She remembers that earthly good must be perfected by God’s Grace as she learns to trust and obey her Heaven-sent Son.
But what is Heaven’s Plan that Jesus brings to earth? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (St. Matthew vi. 33) We know what happens next. There were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. (St. John ii, 6,7)Jesus will use not wine-skins but pots meant to hold water for ritual cleansing and purification. Add water to the vessels for purification Jesus says.
So the holy water becomes a basis for a miracle that manifests a number of things. First, we see that Jesus’ Heavenly Mission has begun. Next, we learn that the Wisdom that Jesus reveals is not of this world and that His Mother’s worldly prudence must subject itself to the priority of the Divine Mission. Jesus takes the old waters of purification and then fortifies them with Heavenly Potency. The wine that the wedding guests will drink reveals what God intends to do for man. This is what Thomas Aquinas means when he writes that Grace does not destroy nature but perfects it.
The hired hands obey first Mary and then Jesus and bear the wine to the governor of the feast. (Ibid, 8) When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (St. Luke ii, 9,10) According to ancient tradition, the governor of the feast would first taste all wine that was intended to be served. But see how the governor’s mind in drawn into wonder and bewilderment. Why was this wine not served at the beginning, he wonders? The governor marveled not at the miracle -since he was unaware of it, but at the fact that somehow the best wine was saved until the end.
This morning the Blessed Virgin Mary exclaims, they have no wine. Indeed. They have no wine. We have no wine. Both she and we realize that there is no wine until Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Ruler of all Creation makes new wine. Wine maketh glad the heart of man. Today’s miracle is a foreshadowing of the new wine that He will pour forth from the vine of the His Body on the Cross of Calvary. Christ’s hour is not yet come. (Idem) With the Blessed Virgin we must wait for the Bridegroom to pour out His life for His Bride. His Bride is the Church. We cannot be filled with the new wine of His Blood until He has given Himself to us in Perfect Love and Sacrifice from the Tree of New Life. The new wine is the libation of His Blood through which we shall be born again in marital union with Him. In consummation with Him, as one flesh, we shall become bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, one flesh with Him, as His Bride.
Will Christ make our water into wine? Will we listen to Him? Will we do whatsoever he saith? Will our minds be turned from earthly wine and the merriment it brings to the new wine that he saves and serves last? John Calvin reminds us that when the Blessed Virgin says, ‘Whatsoever He saith, do it’, we are taught….that if we desire any thing from Christ, we will not obtain our wishes, unless we depend on Him alone, look to him, and, in short, do whatever he commands. What we should desire first is to seek out and find the new wine of salvation that Jesus the Bridegroom will give to us if we faithfully wait until His hour is come (Idem). His hour has come. Christ has died, Christ is Risen, and Christ will come again. Christ gives us His new life in the Bread of His Body and the Wine of His Blood. As Pope Benedict XVI has said:
In the Eucharist, a communion takes place that corresponds to the union of man and woman in marriage. Just as they become ‘one flesh,’ so in Communion, we all become ‘one spirit,’ one person, with Christ. The spousal mystery, announced in the Old Testament, of the intimate union of God and man takes place in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, precisely through his Passion and in a very real way (see Eph 5:29-32; I Cor 6:17; Gal 3:28).” With the servants at the feast, we should depend upon Christ who saves the best wine ‘til last.
Adoration of the Magi mosaic (c.432-440)Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.
The Feast of the Epiphany
January 9, 2021
Fr. William Martin
In this child something great lay hidden, of which these
Wise Men, the first fruits of the Gentiles, had learned, not
from earthly rumors, but from heavenly revelation. Hence
they say, we have seen His Star in the East. They announce,
yet they ask; they believe, and yet they seek to know and
to find: as though prefiguring those who walk by faith, yet
still desire to see.(R.D. Crouse)
Today we celebrate the great feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany means manifestation or shining forth and in this season we contemplate the various ways in which the love, wisdom, and power of God the Father, flow to us through the life of Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son made flesh. In the Eastern Church, Epiphany is more important than the Nativity, for on this day God welcomes the Gentiles along with the Jews onto the road of salvation. God’s intention to save all men is fully expressed when the Magi or Wise Men from the East journey to find the infant Jesus at Bethlehem. What is remarkable is that Gentiles see a paranormal star in the heavens, they ponder, they ask, and they believe that they must follow this star to know and understand what God intends to reveal to them. It is astounding then that these sages or wise men, who come from cultures that knew nothing of Israel’s God and His promises, should be drawn by his power to Bethlehem. It made sense that Jewish shepherds should come to the manger. It is far more unusual that the non-Jewish scholars of science and wisdom should find this mighty thing that had come to pass.
But, again, remember that these Magi were sages or wise men. They studied nature and the stars. They sought, through scientific expertise and skill to understand the creation and preservation of the earth in relation to the heavens. In other words, they probably had a deep sense that the heavens had much to do with the operations of this planet, or that something higher and more powerful guided and governed the course of the created universe. So, they looked up and beyond themselves to find the mover or movers, the higher reason and truth that might make sense of created life on earth. In addition, if tradition is right in claiming that they came from Persia, they would have been irritated and bothered with the arbitrary and irrational will to power and tyranny that ruled the kingdoms they inhabited. They were those seekers and searchers that forever explore until they have found the truth and meaning that libertate the soul.
So, we might well imagine, on one night, as they gazed into the permanent and unchanging heavens, that something shifted. One star began to outshine all others; one ball of celestial fire began to sing of a Word that had not been heard. The sight bewildered the eyes; the sound rang in the ears of these Eastern sages. What they saw and heard was nothing less than God’s own Word: follow me. It was probably strange, and they might have had their doubts, but this star arrested them and called them from their usual haunts. They began to make their journey; it would not be easy- as the heavens had shifted, so had their perspective. They were not longer at home with their accumulated wisdom. This star moved them to laden their camels and summon attendants, and to gather provisions for a long journey where faith believed but knew not why or how. Tonight, they might have said, we travel to see what this star means and on what new reality it shines. Tonight we seek to discover the nature of this star that sings out to us, ‘come follow me. Until now, the stars had been silent; but this one star called them forth. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. (ps. xix. 1)
Thus, these Magi or Wise men began their long journey after the Star that blazoned in the skies. T. S. Eliot describes the nature of this journey they made in his poem The Journey of the Magi:
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
They saw a star, they asked, they believed, and they followed. They were called out of comfort onto a long, hard, cold, and cruel journey. Nature and society would not be accommodating. The hardened, frozen hearts of most men would oppose them. The journey to find the Infant Babe of Bethlehem would never be easy. It would be a journey through the land of sin, with the voices singing in [their] ears, saying that this was all folly.
As Eliot imagines it, the Magi left behind one kind of obstinately oppositional hell found in the pagan Persia, only to come into another strange and confusing place. They emerged out of lands whose histories neither respected their spiritual questing nor cared much for deeper metaphysical meaning. They came into the promised land of God, into Israel. Probably, they had high hopes; but they experienced a different sensation and climate in this place. It was temperate and warmer. It was wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;/ With a running stream and water mill beating the darkness, / And three trees on the low sky… Here, new life was waiting to be born. The Streams of Living water began to beat against the darkness. Three trees on the horizon were growing up to be cut down and shaped into crosses. Men here were gambling, like men in their own land, preferring seamless robes to brilliant stars. Even here, in the Promised Land of the Jews, the Wise Men found only fragments of interest in the star that they followed. God’s priests and kings had forgotten their first love, their promised destiny, their intended course. The land of the Jews was not as they had expected. And so we continued, say Eliot’s Wise Men, and arrived at evening, not a moment too soon/ Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
First, the Wise Men’s reason led them ignorantly to Jerusalem, but the star did not shine there on her king, Herod. Besides, he was too old and hardened to be born or even born again. There was no room in Jerusalem, the holy city, for the birth of the king the wise men sought. Its temple had no room for the birth of a Heavenly king; its priests were the puppets of power and pretention. The newborn king the Wise men sought could not have been born there. Instead, the Star insisted on leading them to a place that was satisfactory, more sufficiently suitable for the birth of God’s Son. They found what appeared to be an ordinary birth, of ordinary parents, in an ordinary place. And yet they believed and saw that this was the kind of king for whom their gifts were prepared. They offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold offered to this king would be used to sustain the child, with Mary and Joseph, as they fled into exile and then returned to rear up God’s own Son in a carpenter’s shop. The frankincensepointed to the priesthood and holiness of this child who would become God’s priest and victim. The myrrh they brought was a funerary ointment to be held in reserve to embalm the king born to die for all men. The Star moved them to discover the king through sacred gifts of mystic meaning.
The Wise Men left, warned by an angel not to return to Herod, they withdrew to their country by another route.(St. Matthew ii. 12)
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different. This Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. (Idem)
The Wise Men were moved by the Star to see, believe, find, and know the birth of a new king. They witnessed a birth but offered their gifts for life, holiness, and death. In the simplicity of this new life, they found the holiness of God. With holiness, they foresaw sacrifice and death. They offered gifts to an infant king whose holy life would call all men to share in His death.
Nevertheless, as Eliot has them admit, they would do it again. We must always desire to follow the Light that leads to the Infant Child of Bethlehem. In Him, The Wise Men, full of truth, found a new kind of love. Ye are dead, St. Paul would say long after the Magi were dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Eliot’s poem, The Journey of the Magi is about the death and new life that must always characterize our relationship with Jesus Christ, or what is manifested and revealed in this season of Epiphany. His poem concludes like this:
We returned to our places, these kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
Something remarkably spiritual had taken place with the Wise Men, and something equally remarkable is meant to take place in the lives of all who have the courage to follow the Star to Bethlehem and there to find God in Man made Manifest. We should be glad of another death. A new death. Death to sin. Death to darkness. His Death and our Death. His Life and our Life.We are being led by the bright beams of a star. The star brings us to Christ the Light. In the Burning Love of this Light, we must be changed, no longer the same, uncomfortably aware of the need for our spiritual death if we are to embrace this remarkable new life in Jesus Christ. Ye are the light of the world, he says to us, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (St. Matthew v. 13-16) Christ the Light enlightens us today, and so now let us continue the journey we have begun together, heading for a new home, starting here and now, fearing nothing but the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. Let us look forward into the Burning Love of that Light, Jesus Christ, God’s Epiphany, who alone can lead us home,
no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With alien people clutching their gods. (Idem)