Thursday, January 12, 2023

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Second Week in Extraordinary Time January 14, 2023 Presiders: Lee Breyer and Elena Garcia ARCWP Lectors: MaryAl Gagnon and Pat Lewis Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller and Rick Miller IT Team: Cheryl Brandi and Peg Bowen

Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389

Passcode: 803326

Theme: Our Prophetic Path

(Lee) We warmly welcome you to the inclusive Catholic Community of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says “All.” And please sing your heart out! Everyone will be muted during the service. During the shared homily and prayers of the community, we invite you to unmute yourself to contribute, and then re-mute yourself again. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray the Eucharistic Prayer.

(Elena) During the past few weeks we have been made aware, through scripture and tradition, that angels, stars and dreams have played important roles in delivering messages from God to the human race. And it all came to pass as it had been foretold by Prophets. Today we open up to consider how prophecy has impacted our lives from the beginning of humankind to the present. As we celebrate the reality of Holy Mystery today let us focus on the gift of prophecy, which is given to each of us, and how to identify it and allow it to become living by the power and grace of God, who gives it and strengthens it.

(Lee)The readings provide information that may help those of us who still wonder about how to frame and understand the concept of Prophecy. How, when and where we have been led by God to experience This Divine Mystery through a different lens. How do the conversion stories of the prophets and ours confirm for us that our transformations were key in leading us into a deeper understanding of the mystery of God. We are continuously called to enter into a transformation that will enhance our relationship with the God mystery, a relationship immersed in the ever loving energy of evolution, in whom we live, move, and have our being.

Gathering Song: Canticle of the Sun

(Elena and All) We begin our joy filled celebration together in the name of the Holy One, Source of all Being, Jesus, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit Sophia, our Wisdom within. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

(Elena) O Holy One, voice in the listening heart, your gifts to us are beyond measure, and your patience without limit. We gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. As we gather to celebrate Eucharist, we offer you thanks and praise for the gift of our humanity, the consciousness and freedom that allows us to know you and one another. We ask that you continue to graft us onto your wholeness so that with absolute self-confidence we may experience an impassioned desire to have everyone else experience the same transformation and ecstasy. Amen

Transformation Rite

( Lee ) We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in caring for self and others. Take a moment to recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship.

(Pause briefly and extend your hand over your heart)

ALL: As we ask for and receive forgiveness, we open our hearts to Infinite Love embracing and healing us. Let it be

The Sign of Peace

(Elena) It is fitting that, having asked for Divine and mutual forgiveness, we now extend an expression of Peace to each other. (Elena and All): Grant Your peace O Loving God, that following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, we may be eager to spread that peace to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. Amen All: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with us.

(Elena) Let us turn to each other and with praying hands offer one another a sign of peace. NAMASTE 3x

Joyful Gloria:

(Pat) Let us All lift our voices in praise.

Glory to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose sacred Word is shared by us in our world and beyond.

Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace, peace in our hearts and peace with one another as we reach out and ask for blessing.

Glory to the Spirit of Life who invites us to learn the lessons of our mistakes.

Glory to Jesus who teaches us how to live the Gospels, and invites us to be healers of heart, body and soul.

You, O Holy One, are one with us. You give us the strength to live your gospel message in our world and beyond.

We depend upon your ever-present Spirit to expand our consciousness to include your ever expanding universe as we journey in the present and rejoice in your call to courageously strive for justice and equality for all.

Glory to the Spirit of Life. Amen! Alleluia

Liturgy of the Word: First Reading (Maryal) A reading from Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

“And now” God says, this God who took me in hand from the moment of birth to be his servant, to bring Jacob back home to him, to set a reunion for Israel-- What an honor for me in God’s eyes! That God should be my strength! He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant--- just to recover the tribes of Jacob, merely to round up the strays of Israel. I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my salvation becomes global!”
This is a reading found in the Old Testament book of The prophet Isaiah. Response: AMEN

Responsorial Psalm: (Pat) R: Here am I, God, I come to do your will.

~I have waited, waited for the Holy One, and God stooped toward me and heard my cry. And there was a new song put into my mouth, a hymn to our God. R—Here am I, ………

~Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, “Behold I come.” R—Here am I, ………

~”In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,

to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” R—Here am I, …

~ I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O God, know.

R--Here am I, God, I come to do your will.


(Lee ) This Gospel narrative takes place the day after the Pharisees had sent a group of priests and officials to ask John to identify himself and to explain why he was baptizing. This prophet spoke with courage about the One who unrecognized by them had taken his place among them.

(Maryal) The holy Gospel according to John 1:29-34

The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: ‘The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, “The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize

with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I am telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”

We affirm the Good News of Our Brother, Jesus the Christ. All: AMEN and ALLELUIA

The Message-The Bible in Contemporary Language---Eugene Peterson



Statement of Faith (Pat and All) We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist. We believe in Jesus, messenger of God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it happen.

Prayers for the people of God

Response: Shelter us, O Holy One in the shadow of your wings.

(Maryal) As we prepare for the sacred meal, we pray for the needs of the people of God in our community and around the world and for the earth and all universal life sustained by God.

~ We pray for all suffering from natural disasters all over the world, that they not lose hope and that they feel the light of your love. R: Shelter………..

~Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, give wisdom to those who negotiate to bring about a better quality of life to all people. R: Shelter…………

~We pray that our government puts children above guns, power, and greed. R: Shelter…….

~Jesus lamb of God, help us to acknowledge our complicity in the suffering of others, and give us a renewed spirit that we may share in the mystery of redemption. R: Shelter………..

~Jesus, Prince of Peace, may those who govern seek to bring peace, that all may live in a fully human way. R: Shelter……….

~We pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia, that they may live in peace without fear, and that goodness and sanity will fill the hearts and minds of those that would cause them harm. R:Shelter

~You are the Way, The Truth and the Life, awaken in us the courage to set aside all pettiness and all half-truths that keep us divided from one another. R: Shelter……….

~We pray for our MMOJ intentions on our community prayer list. R: Shelter………

( Maryal) And for what else do we pray? Begin with, “I bring to the table.” R: Shelter………

(Maryal and All) Holy One, may we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. Amen

Preparation of the Gifts

Offertory: Here is My Life by Joe Wise

(Pat) Blessed are you, God of all Creation, Earth and the Universe. This bread is your community of Mary Mother of Jesus, offering our spiritual evolution into the heart of Christ. May this bread become spiritual nourishment for our journey. All: Praise and glory to our Creator, Shekinah, and Jesus the Christ forever.

(Pat) Blessed are you, God of all Creation, Earth and the Universe. This wine is our desire to make co-creator choices in our own lives and for humanity. May we grow in faith, hope and love by following the way of Jesus Christ, our wise elder brother.

All: Praise and glory to our Creator, Shekinah, and Jesus the Christ forever.

(Pat) Grateful for your covenant with us, which extends to us the heritage of light and life and love, we gather together in hopeful openness, joined with all living creatures, and we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

Eucharistic Prayer

(LEE) Holy Mystery, you stirred the waters of creation and you dwell in us.

(Lee and All): and in every living being and earth itself.

(Lee) Let us lift up our hearts.

(Lee and All): We lift up our hearts to our Creator in whom past, present, future and All that exists are One.

(Extend hands in blessing over bread and wine for the Invocation of the Holy Spirit.)

(Elena and All): Come Sophia Wisdom Holy Spirit and settle on this bread and wine. Fill them with the holiness and wholeness of our brother Jesus the Christ who is calling us to justice, peace, equality and dignity for all. We give thanks and praise this day. Amen.

(Lee and All) On the night before he died, Jesus gathered with his friends and washed their feet so that they would follow his example in service of human consciousness and evolution into Jesus the Christ.

(Elena and All) When he returned to his place at the table he spoke the blessing, broke the bread and shared it with them saying, “Take and eat of the bread of life. Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.”

(Elena and All) Jesus then raised the cup of blessing, spoke the grace saying, “Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in each of you and in your community. Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.”

(Maryal and All) Jesus, who was with God in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and earth, is with us now in this bread. The Spirit of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim the mystery of faith - Christ dies, Christ rises, Christ comes again and again and again.

Great Amen by Linda Lee Miller

The Abba Prayer

(Pat and All) Eternal Spirit, Earth maker, Pain bearer, Life giver, Source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in whom is heaven –

The hallowing of your name echoes through the universe.

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world,

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings.

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom, sustain our hope and come to earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In the times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen

(Lee) Please join me in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread.

(Lee and All): Holy one, you call us to speak truth to power.

We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Holy one, you call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice.

We We will live justly.

You call us to be your presence in the world.

We will love tenderly.

(Maryal) This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other. All are welcome to the Feast.

(Maryal and All): What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives. As we share communion we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge to grow in consciousness and obedience to the call of the Holy One in Jesus the Christ.

(Lee) Take and share communion with the words “(I am) or (You are) love for the world.”

Take and share the cup with the words “(I am) or (You are) hope for the world.

Communion Meditation: What Shall I Give? by Sara Thomsen

Prayer After Communion

(Elena and All) Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and with one another. May wonder and thanksgiving fill us with knowledge, understanding and experience of your love and compassion for us, your sacred people. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements

Closing Community Blessing (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)

(Lee and All): May our hearts be glad on our journeys as we dream new dreams and see new visions.

May we live and work for mercy, peace and justice, in our hearts for ourselves and our brothers and sisters…whoever they are and wherever they are.

May we learn to bless, honor and hold in reverence one another and thus grow in gratitude and humility.

May we continually strive to be the faith of a mustard seed, so we can move mountains that are barriers to justice and equality.

And may we be the face of God to the world, reflecting a compassionate and caring presence in us to everyone we meet.

And finally, as we go forth from this sacred space, let us purposefully look with new eyes and hearts to recognize our call, to Spiritual growth and evolving consciousness. Thanks be to God. Let it be so!


(Elena) Full of Christ’s peace, let us go out in haste to share the Good news of the Divine Presence dwelling within. Remember, that as the face of Christ to the world we are absolute existence and a field of infinite possibilities. Let our service continue with hearts full of zeal and desire to answer our call to be the voice of the Holy One at all times. All: Amen and Alleluia !!!

Closing Song: Faithhill Song

If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer book, please send an email to

If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them to the day’s liturgy at

Delighting in the Feminine Divine- A PCS Course for Journeying into the Sacredness Within Us and All Around Us -Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Mystic and holy woman  Julian of Norwich writes

“ all shall be well “because we are made of God and the Presence of the Divine is everywhere .

St. Paul writes that there is nothing that can separate us from the boundless love of the One from whom we came and in whom  all creation is connected. (Romans 28)

There is a growing consciousness  of the energy of the  Divine Feminine rebirthing a sense of wonder and delight in the holy within us and all around us.

In the late 1990’s  I wrote 3 books with prayerful reflections including scripture, teachings from the mystics and contemporary experiences:

Exploring the Feminine Face of God

Delighting in the Divine Feminine 

Heart Talks with Mother God ( co- authored with my dear friend  Regina Madonna Oliver)

At this time I facilitate- Delighting in the Feminine Divine-a PCS course for individuals and groups on

I invite you to explore the sacredness of the Divine Feminine within you and all. 

Bridget Mary Meehan

Any questions, contact me at

Register at link above.


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Where I'm From as I Celebrate my Birthday -by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


I am from Bridie and Jack -loving parents- who gave our family- Patrick and Sean- the greatest of legacies in a loving, faith-filled and happy home.

Bridie and Jack outside cottage in Coolkerry on wedding day

I am from  a family I dearly love. 

This photo below was taken in our back yard in Falls Church, Virginia on the occasion of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary )right to left back row: Brother Patrick and Valerie, his wife,Brother Sean, and Nancy his wife and son Danny in. her arms,
Bottom row from left to right: Aunt Molly, Mom, Dad with Katie in his arms. and me)

First home- cottage in Coolkerry, County Laois- near Rathdowney, Ireland. 

I'm from ducks, sheep, and cows, buttercups, nettles and daisies and all kinds of tall grass and wildflowers in emerald, green fields.

I am from floating fluffy white clouds, soft gentle rain, wind blowing, squishy mud pies and searching the bushes for hen eggs.

I am from the water's edge at the Erkina River.
 Fishing for Pinkeens with a small jam jar.

I am from cows and sheep grazing in fields full of tall grass and thistles.

Once Patrick and I fed a small lamb from a baby bottle and he swallowed the nipple. We ran home crying -thinking- the lamb would get sick. The next day,we  saw the  lamb frolicking in the field! Lesson learned😊

Cottage in Coolkerry (close-up)

Erkina River

Wildflowers and bushes on the banks of the Erkina River across from our cottage

Molly and Fergus McCathy

I am from a beloved Aunt- Molly- who sent me lovely dresses in. packages tied up with twine and gave me the most beautiful doll with braided red-hair. In 1956 Aunt Molly and her husband Fergus sponsored our family's emigration to the United States and shared their 3 story colonial home with us in Arlington, Virginia in 1956.

Mom and Aunt Molly were close-knit sisters with very different personalities

(seated: Mom, behind Mom Aunt Molly, Dad and me at Sean and Nancy's home- which was previously owned by Aunt Molly and Uncle Fergus)

I am from a musical family. 
My grandfather played the fiddle and taught the village children in Ballyroan. 

Dad with sax often joined the Ballyroan Band for Music Sessions on our visits to Ireland

(left to right)Bo Kinnall, Dad and Hank Oeser played together at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia for 20 years.

I am from infinite divine love beyond the beyonds.

 I am made of joy and know that all shall be well no matter what.

I am from imperfections and holy messes that have silver linings.

I come from  a place where there is always room at the table and more than enough to share. 

I am from Mary of the Gael,  blessed mother, cherished companion, first priest who could say: "this is my body and this is my blood. "

Stained glass found on internet

I am from  Brigit goddess and St. Brigid , lover of earth and companion to the suffering, visionary and leader, abbess and bishop of a double monastery in Kildare. 

(This stained glass window is in Blessed Trinity Chapel in Rathdowney in County Laois where I made my first communion.)

Photo of me on my first Communion Day outside old Chapel in Rathdowney

I am from Mary Magdalene and all the  faith -filled women who followed Jesus- preachers, healers, lovers, prophets and priests including my companions in the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement.

internet icon of Mary of Magdalene - apostle to the apostles

I am from a renewed priestly ministry in communities of equals where all are invited to celebrate sacraments. I am living the impossible dream -that I never would have imagined 25 years ago- as  a presider in Mary Mother of  Jesus inclusive Catholic Community
and a bishop in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Bridget Mary Meehan -presiding at one of our historic ordinations

Roman Catholic Women Priests and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrate Ordination at St. Andrew Church UCC

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Gift of the Magi by Annie Watson ARCWP, Holy Family Catholic Church, Austin Texas, Jan. 8, 2023



The Gift of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-12

One of the things I like about this place is that it allows people from more than one religious tradition to find a home here. As your name suggests, this is a place where different relatives in the holy family of humanity is found.

In a sense, this place is a microcosm of first century Judea. Judea was a multi-faith society. People from various faith traditions encountered one another at this crossroads on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Should it surprise us that people in that time and place didn’t seem to have as many problems with other faith traditions as we sometimes do? The story from Matthew 2 is a good example. 

Presumably, a small group of men known as Magi, usually thought to be Babylonian or Persian astrologers, perhaps of the Zoroastrian faith, meet the Jewish King Herod and the holy family.

It is a beautiful and suspenseful story that teaches us about beingin relationship with those of other cultures and faith traditions, many of whom live in our neighborhoods, attend our schools, share our workspaces, are members of our own families, or worship in the same buildings

The story tells us that the Magi followed a star to find the baby Jesus. We may not be able to follow actual stars in the same manner today, but when we follow their story, we can learn six things from them about interfaith dialogue:

1. Be willing to take the first step

The Magi did not wait for the newborn king to come to them. Instead, they actively searched for an opportunity to greet him. They stopped everything they were doing, packed their suitcases, and set out on a long journey, longing to meet the promised Messiah

Likewise, interfaith dialogue requires us to take initiative. We can be the ones to make the first phone call and write the first email introduction. We can be the ones to travel to the home turf of the other, rather than expecting others to come to us.

2. Ask questions

The Magi knew of a prophecy relating to the birth of a future Messiah-King of the Jews, but they were not familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures describing where he might be born. So they find people most knowledgeable about the Jewish faith and ask for their help. 

Likewise, our interfaith experience is deepened when we ask good questions to those who know their traditions best, rather than making assumptions and trying to figure everything out on our own.

3. See the holy in the other

When the Magi found the child they were thrilled to bits, and knelt before him. They knew they were seeing someone holy.

Likewise, we may not have many opportunities to see or experience the holy in other faith traditions, but we can open ourselves to see the ways God is at work in their lives. We can honor the sacred we find in others.

4. Bring our best gifts

The Magi brought precious gifts to the holy child, items with both symbolic and practical significance. There is a joke floating around that suggests if women had been the ones to travel to meet the baby, they would have brought a casserole, baby wipes, and diapers. But the male Magi did their best.

Likewise, we may not have an abundance of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at our homes, but we can bring our best selves. We can bring our spiritual gifts of generosity, kindness, and openness. 

5. Be willing to take risks

It would have been easy for the Magi to return to Jerusalem as instructed, telling Herod exactly where to find Jesus. Instead, they chose to depart in secret, guarding Jesus’ location and seeking to keep him safe.

Likewise, in a nation where Christians like us are the majority—many of whom are intolerant and suspicious of others—we must pay attention to our neighbors safety as they practice their minority faiths, and we must be willing to take risks on their behalf to help them exercise their free expression of religion. 

6. Expect to be changed

The Magi did not return by the same road. They found a new way home. 

Likewise, our interfaith encounters can be transformative. They can change our perspective, sharpen our empathy, and enrich our understanding. We will not go back the same way we came. 

So, here we are, 2,000 years later. As we continue to engage in interfaith encounters and dialogue, as we continue to be exposed to new expressions of faith, we can give thanks for the example given to us by those ancient Magi, those star-following astrologers, full of initiative and curiosity.

They were people who wanted to see the holy, regardless of the religious tradition, who brought the best they had. They werepeople who were willing to risk everything for an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, people who knew that their lives would never be the same. 

That is what interfaith dialogue is all about. It is a gift from the One who created us all, to generate more understanding, to produce more meaningful relationships, and to bring more peace into a world of conflict and chaos. May God keep us all safe on this journey. Amen.

"Put a Woman in Charge" - Beth Nielson Chapman

We Follow the Star ~ a homily with City Road Methodist Church by Elaine Pfaff ARCWP Sunday, January 8th, 2023: Feast of the Epiphany

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72: 1-2,7-8,10-11, 12-13; Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

“The longest journey is the journey inward.”  That's a quote by Dag Hammarskjold, who was the Secretary General of the UN in the 1950's.  Today's journey on the Feast of the Epiphany, when the divine is made manifest,  seems -  at first - to be a journey outward.  

The story of the Magii is one of the best loved features of the Christmas story.  And no wonder!  Look at the effect of these exotic characters on us to this day. Yet, the Book of Matthew is the only one of the four Gospels to tell it.

The word  “Magii” is taken from the Greek word “magos” , from which we get the word magician.  They do seem magical in themselves, with all their wealth of education and influence.  They are  teachers, priests, physicians, and astrologers.  Yet, with all this apparent power,  outside themselves for divine wisdom.   

Bible scholars emphasize that Matthew's Gospel is aimed primarily at a Jewish audience.  But it was people outside the Community, strangers from lands far away, who were wise enough to seek something more. Some One more than themselves. 

The Magii, named “wise men” in the NLT translation we're using today, are simply called “magi from the east” in the New American Bible. It is entirely possible, according to  Benedict Thomas Viviano, a renowned authority on the Gospel of Matthew,  that women could have been among them.  In the commentary on the commentary on Matthew in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, he is quoted as saying.  “The main reason to think of the presence of one or more women among the magi is the background story of the queen of Sheba, with her quest for Israelite royal wisdom, her reverent awe, and her three gifts for a king.” 

Because of the three gifts we're noticing, we think of the Magii as three in number. Yet manuscripts from the Middle Ages feature more than three and some Eastern churches today commemorate as many as twelve. 

 They bring gold, symbolizing unshakable wealth that increases in value with time.  Frankincense, a perfume to sweeten the senses and create powerful memory.  And myrrh used in anointing sacred passages in our lives.   We might ask ourselves today:  What is golden to us?  What do we  really “own”  that is of eternal value?  We might ourselves today:  what is the frankincense that attracts us with its irresistible scent?  The perfume that draws us in and creates an indelible memory?  And the myrrh! How have we made use of the myrrh  in our lives, absorbing the oil we receive in body, mind, and spirit to know ourselves as holy.  As human creatures made forever in the image of God!      

Let's think of these three, - called “kings” in a much later tradition – let's think of them as us!  They have a wide assortment of names suggested throughout the centuries: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar are those that prevail to this day.  Their origins were first thought to be Persia, India, and Arabia. Later commentators proposed that they represented the three known continents at the time:  Africa, Asia, and Europe.  They are almost always depicted as a multi cultural group.  

I had a profound experience last Wednesday when I was on the road from Hertford to Chesapeake. Just as I passed the State line on Rte 17,  I had a flat tire!  I to pulled over onto the shoulder of the by-pass. You know the road.  Big rigs passed me, shaking my car, and so I got out to stand on the embankment. While I called for help, three  cars and a truck stopped at different times.  Four!  Two of them were on the Southbound lanes, and so they went miles out of their way to circle back to me.  One of those four drivers was white like me. I'm grateful beyond measure to share the road with these big hearted human beings.    

The  Magii, on their route, come from the East, following a star that rose above them in the East, then appeared over Jerusalem, then turned south to Bethlehem.  As we join them today, we find ourselves on a route that's a bit like a three-point turn.  Why are they and we so tenacious in following this guiding star?   

And what about the significance of this particular star? In  ancient times, stars were associated with important powerful figures and with the historical founding of Rome. Herod had his star.  Appointed by the Roman Senate, he was obsessively protective of his new found status as none other than king of the Jews.  Imagine his outrage when the Wise Ones asked him for directions to another king!  From the outset of the story, we are confronted with conflict - with two radically different kinds of kingdoms:  One an Empire.  The other -  a kin ~ dom.

Science proves that there was indeed a bright object in the sky at the time of Jesus' birth. Today there are many theories about this star, which must have been so bright in the night sky before modern times when light pollution inhibits our vision.  Even without a telescope, we would be intrigued with this stellar display. Astronomer Michael Molnar points to the facts in his book  The Star of Bethlehem published by Rutgers University (1999).  Various planets did indeed align with the moon and sun around the years of Jesus' birth. We – like our ancestors before us, are still intrigued with this star   And we follow it here – in our personal experience - to City Road Methodist Church on January 8, 2023.

 Like the Magii in the story, we bring  homage to the Christ Child.  {Pause for Silence} We open to the loving unitive consciousness before us in Jesus of Nazareth.  And as we do, we are simultaneously opened to our deepest most authentic selves.  We know the journey to be both inward and outward.  For the Epiphany, the manifestation,  is this:  We too are incarnations of the divine. …  Let's linger here.  In this shared light. …  We trust its energy to both rest us and move us.  As we bring our gifts, we trust that we are given what we need to co-create a just and merciful world:   

To be loved and to love.  To feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, shelter the homeless, heal the sick through our presence united in God. 

These weeks, the time between Epiphany on January 6th and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, this year on February 12th of 2023 , was – in ancient times – a season to celebrate that we are born of a royal nature. “Culturally this has 'de-volved' into Mardi Gras or Carnival without an understanding of its spiritual roots.  And most do not realize that these celebrations are an entire season – weeks long – not merely a few days.  Perhaps one reason that this season has been lost is that the eroneous concept of  'original sin' overtook the embodied truth of original blessing.” (Alexander John Shaia)

We are in the Season of Epiphany!  We follow the star.