St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
Friday, January 6, 2022

Epiphany All Nations Shall Serve You

Western Epiphany (You may know this poem, because I post it one way or another every year. Mother Mary Francis, the Poor Clare abbess who wrote this has been dead for a dozen years, but she was my friend. And she was rich in wisdom. And this still matters to us. Literalism kills, but the Spirit gives life. May we seek to follow…)

Western wise, we come to adore -Twenty minutes for worship And plans for the evening.
Our gifts are weighed and measured
From a substantial savings for the winter,
Our hearts are places of narrow corridors
Loud as nightmares,
Busy calculations crawl in our souls
Like ants.
Have mercy on our common sense, poor Child,
For our hearts are bleak as comfort
And inspiration wilts in us, untended flower.
Give us that rare madness
To chase a star like lions
And fling stores away to you
Like laughter.
We are the polished western-wise
Who give this least obeisance because
After these handsome days
Are riddled with the bullets of time
And death comes upon our conveniences
Like a drunken reveler, We prefer salvation.
Oh! pity our pale sanity, poor Child
Who once saw copper faces
Glow like jubilation, Saw crowns atilt with hurry.
Lips on the ground, And raze our gleaming righteousness
Lest the ox and ass alone be wise.

Remember Ryan Williams’ ordination TOMORROW, JANUARY 7, at 2 pm, At Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City. If you wish to send a card, please bring it to the church no later than 10:15 tomorrow morning so that we can take it along. It will also be possible to VIEW the service ONLINE at

SUNDAY – We will celebrate Epiphany at Church. Please bring any leftover goodies or final baked or purchased Christmas treats to share after Church.

And enjoy this homily from the 5th century. As you have doubtless noticed in the last couple of days, those early Christians were not the least interested in literalism. They loved the play of words, the dance of mystery, the joy of reading scripture against scripture, the love of God who is too great for human imaginings. We would do a whole lot better to follow their lead and find the One we love, than to demand answers that the text has no interest in giving us.

Ancient words, ever new
part of a homily preached by Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna, 450 AD. In choosing to be born for us, God chose to be known by us. He therefore reveals himself in this way, in order that this great sacrament of his love may not be an occasion for us of great misunderstanding. Today the Magi find, crying in a manger, the one they have followed as he shone in the sky. Today the Magi see clearly, in swaddling clothes, the one they have long awaited as he lay hidden among the stars. Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see; heaven on earth, earth in heaven, humankind in God, God in human flesh, one whom the whole universe cannot contain, now enclosed in a tiny baby. As they look, they do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness; incense for God, and gold for a king, and myrrh for one who is to die. So the Gentiles who were the last, become the first; the faith of the Magi is the first fruits of the belief of the Gentiles.
(page 48, Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, edited by F. Robert Wright)



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