Gifts and Graces from God
30 December 2019 IN: Bishop
Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I’ve just read that a piece of research has been done about the number of presents that are never used after the day they were received. I could have told them that for nothing. All those Christmas and Summer Fairs that provide opportunities for recycling. My heart always sinks when my mother asks me if I’ve kept the receipt!
This month Christians will be thinking about the gifts offered to the Christ child by the Wise Men. In offering gold, they proclaim Christ’s kingship; in offering incense they adore his Godhead and in offering myrrh they point to his mortality and sacrificial death. These gifts provide us with both encouragement and challenge as we commit ourselves afresh to living as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, being his love in action.
We have all received gifts and graces from God – our life, faith, families, friends, interests, talents, things that energise us and say so much about who we are. The start of a new year is a good opportunity to stop and think, to pray and ponder about how we will use our gifts as individuals, as worshipping communities and as a diocese to further the Kingdom of God and to build up the Church. How will we use our time, our talents and our resources to make a real difference and to further the mission of Jesus Christ?
The Epiphany season is a gift in itself – time to really renew our commitment to having prayer, worship, scripture, sacrament and service at the heart of everything. It is this commitment that will equip us to better face our challenges and opportunities. It will remind us that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves and call us to join in the ongoing conversations that will shape our lives and ministries going forward.
Some of this will feel scary and demand much of us, but Jesus has promised that he will build his Church and be with us to the end of time. Jesus Christ is the Truth and he speaks only the truth. So, what do we look to Jesus to do for us in this coming year? What are the longings of his heart for us? What will good look like for the Diocese of Manchester? What is Jesus asking us to do for him in this coming year? How will we seek to work with others to further his kingdom, to grow in depth and in numbers so that we are better able to serve the world he loves so much?
Might I suggest that you prayerfully read Matthew 2:1-12 and ask yourself what gifts you have been given, what gifts we as a diocese have been given and then pray that we might all be ready to use those gifts in order to keep on growing, nurturing and serving.