Sunday, January 4, 2015

Homily for The Pawling Ecumenical Epiphany Walk

Sunday, January 4, 2015 – 4:00pm to 8:00pm
A long-standing Pawling Tradition continues this Sunday, January 4 with The Pawling Ecumenical Epiphany Walk.
For Christians around the world, Christmas did not end on December 25th, but it had only just begun! In fact the, the Twelve Days of Christmas began on Christmas Day and continue through The Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, also known as Little Christmas. Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Magi, or Wisemen from the East, to adore the Christ Child and to present Him with gifts: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Members of Pawling’s Christian churches and others from our community will walk from church to church enjoying a sampling of how each congregation celebrates Christmas and Epiphany.
This year’s walk will begin at 4:00pm at Christ Church on Quaker Hill. Then, the walk continues to Pawling Central Baptist Church (4:30pm), St. John’s Roman Catholic Church (5:00pm), Pawling United Methodist Church (5:30pm), Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (6:00pm), and ends at The Lutheran Church of Christ the King (6:30pm) where refreshments will be served following their service.
The Pawling Ecumenical Epiphany Walk is a unique and wonderful tradition that reflects the spirit of the season and our community. Come join us and celebrate God’s gift of Love at Christmas!

John 1:1-14

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
“And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling amongst us.” Merry Christmas! This is God’s gift to the world: He became flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. He became your brother so that you could become His son. He came to be what you could not be, obedient, and to fulfill the Law you could not fulfill. He came to suffer, receiving in His body the wages of your sin, and die the death you earned, all so that He could give you His life and a right relationship with His Father, and that His Father would be glorified in His creation being “very good” once again.
“And [Mary] wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger.” Of course, you know, that a manger is a feeding trough for animals. A manger is where animals eat and are nourished and sustained. Interestingly, the French word that is spelled the same as manger is manger, which actually means, “to eat.” O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum, our choir will sing in a moment; O great mystery and wondrous sacrament, that animals should see the newborn Lord lying in a manger!
The manger, a simple feeding trough, where the animals of the nativity scene were fed, held the same body of  Jesus, the bread of life, that we feed on in the sacrament of the Eucharist. And so, we, the Lord’s children, see Him wrapped in the swaddling cloths of bread and wine and laying upon the altar for us poor sinners to eat and drink and be nourished and sustained unto eternal life in His kingdom. When you receive the Blessed Sacrament, you hold, in the manger of your hand, Jesus, body and blood, soul and divinity, the same Jesus born in a manger that first Christmas day. O great mystery and wondrous sacrament! Merry Christmas!
Truly, we owe the Blessed Sacrament to Bethlehem. No nativity, no Eucharist! Indeed, Bethlehem, bayth leh'-khem, literally means House of Bread. And, our Lord Jesus Christ is, literally, the Bread of Life of which we eat and drink and live. And so, each and every time you receive the Holy Eucharist, you receive in your hands and in your mouth the very same flesh and blood that was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary when the Word of God became flesh and made His dwelling amongst us, that was wrapped in swaddling cloths and was laid into a manger, that was crucified, died, and was buried, and that was raised again from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will return on the Last Day to raise your flesh and blood body from the grave to be like His glorified body, to live with Him in His kingdom forever.
Now, there’s food for thought.
Merry Christmas! Blessed Epiphany!

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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