The cover of a plaster sarcophagus in the catacombs of Rome circa 200’s A.D., with the inscription “Severa—may you live in God”

As I prepared to continue this series on the ‘journeys of grace’, I thought first of course of the journey of the magi, those ‘gentiles’ and ‘foreigners’ being led by a star to the Christ of God in that manger of Bethlehem. It is a story that speaks so movingly of the great embrace and sovereignty of the Holy One.

But then I saw this image of an early Christian tomb, and was struck by the presence of the man behind Mary and the Child. It is Balaam, the gentile and foreign diviner whom God raised up to speak to the King Balak of the Moabites. In one of his oracles, Balaam says ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near – a star shall come out of Jacob’ (Numbers 24:17). On this sarcophagus lid, Balaam has been brought forward several centuries to stand by the Child of Bethlehem, and there he points to the star. Balaam now declares that this child is the Anointed One of God promised long.

What if we were to think of this scene anew, imagining that the star now represents Christ? If the star of old led the magi to the Christ Child, where might the Living Lord be leading us today? Where is Christ to be found in our lives, in this world?

If you are in the area, we warmly invite you to join us on this Epiphany Sunday. Certified child care is offered during the service and a programme for young children also. There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheelchair lift inside the doors to St. Andrew’s Hall from the church parking lot mid way along Clergy Street, and hearing assist devices are available upon request from an usher.

Have a look at the Order of Service and bulletin below (just click the link to download), and consider each hymn and prayer and announcement a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service.

And next week join us as we continue our journey as we ponder the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.

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