Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In the Octave of the Epiphany

Bough before the Lord 
Dear Fathers , Friends in Christ, 

In a few weeks time the end of the Christmas season is approaching. I observe the end 
on the end of the Octave of the Epiphany and the nativity scene remains in place until the Presentation of the Lord on 2 February. 
Customs differ though, but am not discussing that this evening. 

What I do like to touch on is what the message of Christmas really was and how we have put it into practise
in our daily lives as such.

1.Tidings of Peace, Goodwill and joy.
I know that many devoted Catholic Christians put the message into practise in their daily lives . They let the Christ Child into their hearts , their lives. This year , because I was snubbed again by two Anglican Clergymen 
and I confess that I let myself get all worked up. I must pray that one day they will redirect this goodwill preached to us at Christmas back to me. Also , as this world has suffered long  and is still suffering we long for the coming of Christ, Who promised us that He shall make all things new!
Let us open our hearts for the Christ Child now only know at Christmas , but all year long  and right throughout all the days of our lives. 

2.The invitation to worship the Lord, to bring Him our gifts , our talents.
Many wonderful Christmas services I participated in during my time at Christ Church Anglican Church Brunswick, Melbourne. We had a wonderful crib and after Mass there was the opportunity to avail oneself of kneeling in front of the crib and adoring the Christ Child , to pray , and to light a candle. 
Hope you had this opportunity too. 

There is this wonderful hymn " As for gladness men of old" and the first verse ends with the words " O Most Gracious Lord , may we , evermore be led to Thee"
Yes , the Wise Men and the Shepherds were led by the star to that stable in Bethlehem to adore the Christ Child. When I was working at Bank of New Zealand Visa Centre in Wellington as an auditor ( have not always been a clergyman )
in 1981 we formed a choir of staff members at Christmas and sang Christmas hymns in all departments. This was one of the hymns. It moved people to tears and this goes to show that we as Catholic Christians by our thoughts , especially deeds can lead others to Jesus Christ. 
And that is what it is all about to be a Catholic Christian. By our way of life , we can lead others to Christ. 

May the Peace , which the Christ Child , brought us at Christmas remain with you always!

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesu, Lord, to thee we raise,
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar;
Branch of royal David’s stem
In thy birth at Bethlehem;
Anthems be to thee addresst,
God in Man made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
And at Cana wedding-guest
In thy Godhead manifest;
Manifest in power divine,
Changing water into wine;
Anthems be to thee addresst,
God in Man made manifest.

Manifest in making whole
Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight,
Quelling all the devil’s might;
Manifest in gracious will,
Ever bringing good from ill;
Anthems be to thee addresst,
God in Man made manifest.

Sun and moon shall darkened be,
Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
All will see his glorious sign;
All will then the trumpet hear,
All will see the Judge appear;
Thou by all wilt be confest,
God in Man made manifest.

Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
Mirrored in thy holy Word;
May we imitate thee now,
And be pure, as pure art thou;
That we like to thee may be
At thy great Epiphany,
And may praise thee, ever blest,
God in Man made manifest.

Words: Bishop Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885)

Tune: St George’s Windsor, by Sir George Job Elvey (1816-1803)

Father Ed Bakker 
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province 
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne 
Bendigo Australia