Sermon Epiphany 1 Jan 13 2019 fr. Michael Cawthon
The Gospel this morning is an account of the self-manifestation by Jesus as a boy.
It is the only glimpse given of his childhood, when at the age of twelve, the time when a Jewish boy became a “son of the law”,
he went up to Jerusalem with His parents for the Passover,
and then stayed on to talk with the teachers in the Temple.
This wonderful story has a strange twist as well;
as the parents of Jesus, start their journey home after the celebration of the feast,
they go a day’s journey before realizing that Jesus was not with them,
they thought Jesus was with family and discovered he was not.
Immediately they turn back to Jerusalem and after three days they finally find him in the Temple.
And when they found him sitting in the midst of doctors,
and He was / both hearing them and – asking them questions
as they were astonished with His understanding and answers.
Then, Jesus sort of chides Mary and Joseph, because they did not look first in the Temple where He “must be (doing) His Fathers business.
So here we have Mary and Joseph, basically losing Him, and returning to find Him.
How could they lose Him, how could they lose the Only Begotten of the Father?
How could they lose something so precious something so important?
But then I look at us, do we not the same, over and over again?
That we have Him, walking and talking and being with Him, and all of a sudden we lose him;
due to our tongue; our thought, word, or deeds?
How can we be so careless (?) and blinded that we lose sight of something so precious (?)
something so important to us and our eternal soul?
Being the Mother of God would not be an easy thing to do, and it was not easy for Mary
(I do not believe that we can even imagine the burden of her responsibility: for as the song says –
she delivered Him who would deliver her;
and, when she kissed him – she kissed the face of God.)
Try walking in those shoes for just a day!
Today, being followers Christ is still not easy;
although (Mat 11:30) Jesus tells us that His yoke is to be easy, and His burden light
as our servitude is to be easy so the burden light,
and yet we all fail as we have difficulty being obedient to our Lord.
So a method is sought: how can we become stronger in our faith and in our deeds?
Well, we are given some really good advice in the Epistle (Roman 12) as we are told not to become conformed to this world around us,
but to be transformed
(for the kids, yes we are to become transformers!)
and we do this by renewing of our minds,
that we may prove what is good, and the acceptable will of God –
that we think not of ourselves more highly than we should;
thus becoming one with the body of Christ and of one another.
As we today lose Jesus, as we move further from him (as did Mary and Joseph in the reading today)
we must also stop immediately once we realize that we are walking along a path void of Him.
Stopping is the first thing we do, but then we, like Mary and Joseph, must turn around, not just “glance” back, but turn around as we
must searching diligently for him and when finding him, to speak to Him in prayer and then listen to Him.
But where do we search for him?
The scriptures today tells us that they look for him, and after three days they finally found him in the Temple.
Often our search can be erratic and confused, often without prayer and thought as we look in places not of him
but we look in places of creation and not of His House:
so we seek solace in the trees,
the stars of the sky
all these are searched in hope of finding Him.
Jesus is not a God of which pagans worship; the trees, mountains, seas, or stars; for He is not “of” THEM
BUT IS THEIR CREATOR AS HE IS OURS.
Yet, we as Anglicans should know where to find him.
For we know where His Body and Blood is to be found – for He told us:
This is my Body, This is my blood, and as partakers of such Jesus tells us
that He is (Jhn 6:35…I am) the bread of life: and he that cometh to me shall never hunger;
and he that believeth on me shall never thirst
(Jhn 6:38) For He did came down from heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him.
(Jhn 6:39 And) this is the Father’s will,
that of all which he hath given me
I should lose nothing (no He is not going to lose one),
(Jhn 6:53) Jesus also told His Apostles (unto them,)
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
(Jhn 6:54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Jhn 6:55) For my flesh is meat indeed,
and my blood is drink indeed.
(Jhn 6:56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
My friends, these are not my words, but the words Jesus Christ – our Redeemer, our Saviour.
From these words is becomes pretty clear that He is to be found where He told us on the night of His Passion,
as He established His Real Presence (the Presence of I AM) with us for ever:
within the Holy Eucharist.
So yes, when you lose Jesus (and you will day after day,)
come unto Him and find Him,
fall down on your knees and ask His forgiveness for your betrayal of Him,
as daily we fall prey to Satan and His world.
This battle with sin is truly won as we are transformed by the Holy Ghost and become cured,
through Jesus Christ, of this dreadful disease that we call sin.
And once seeked and granted forgiveness of our sins through Him,
we must then follow His example given in the Gospel this morning
for once He was found He returned with His parents (Mary and Joseph)
and “was subject unto them”
of which, we must do the same and become subject “yes, even obedient” to Him.
Yes indeed, come Lord Jesus –
transform us unto thy will
and establish your Glory in our Hearts
that we may be a blessing to those around us.
The hour cometh …