Epiphany 2 01/17/21

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The Still Point: A Time of Meditation and Reflection

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

   Peace on each one who comes in need;

   Peace on each one who comes in joy.

   Peace on each one who offers prayers;

   Peace on each one who offers song.

Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,

   Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.  

 

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, give us such a vision of your purpose and such an assurance of your love and power, that we may ever hold fast the hope which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Gospel                                                                                                       John 1:43-51

Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Poem: Last Night as I Was Sleeping                                                            by Antonio Machado

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

Translated by Robert Bly

Meditation:

The poem leads us into dreams remembered and shared, of extraordinary experiences of feeling water, a beehive (!), light, and ultimately God in the poet’s heart. The words “marvelous error” may throw us off, but perhaps the poet is suggesting indirectly that it would be a mistake to reject these experiences as unreal. (Another translation of this poem uses the words “blessed illusion”). In this week’s gospel story, one might wonder if Philip and Nathanael felt something deep and palpable when they met Jesus, something extraordinary they had never felt before. Maybe they also wondered if this was real – could this be the Messiah they were hoping for?

Questions for reflection:

  • Have you had experiences similar to the ones related in the poem… in dreams or while awake?
  • What especially strikes or moves you about the stories of Jesus calling his disciples?
  • What do you feel you are being called to this Epiphany season?

 

The Prayers

 

We bring to God a troubled situation in our world

 

We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust

 

We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of affection

 

We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives

 

We name before God those who have died.

 

Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen. 

                  Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.

May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.

Posted in The Still Point.