Messenger Cover: Presence

In his poem Sea Fever, John Masefield begins his ode to sailing and the sea with these words:

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

Through the ages, humanity has used the stars as reference points in navigation. I thought about this as the Twelve Days of Christmas ended and the Christian season of Epiphany began on January 6. Epiphany as a word comes from the Greek word, “epiphainein”, which means, “to manifest”. The gospel lesson assigned for the day is the story of the Gentile magi who followed a star to worship the infant Christ. In such a way, Christ was “manifest” for all people not just Israel.

The season of Epiphany always begins right after the New Year when many have set resolutions and goals to pursue. When prayerfully discerned and coupled with God’s desire for us to grow spiritually, our goals can be like the natal star, bringing us closer to the Christ and steering our lives in Godly directions.

One writer uses the word STAR as an acronym for reaching our goals.

  • “S” means “Select” a goal which you know will please God. Prayer, Christian conferencing, searching the Scriptures and worship all are means God has given us for this sort of discernment.

  • “T” means “Tie” a plan of action to the goal, broken down in steps. Again, the spiritual disciplines are necessary here, as are the en- couragement and ministries of the church.

  • “A” means “Arrange” the steps needed into a time schedule. “A” also reminds us to take “Action”.

  • “R” means “Review” your progress, prepared to received grace and correction for your course in life.

This month you will have the opportunity at Christ Church to receive back the worship commitment card many filled out in January 2013. In privacy, you will then be able to see how well you did in keeping your vows of “prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness” last year. Additionally, you will be invited to set your worship goal for 2014. So why not begin now in the STAR goal setting process, by studying the role of worship in the Bible, praying for discernment, reflecting on why you worship, and engaging in serious conversations with other Christians about the role of worship in spiritual growth. Doing this will begin to clarify how, for the Christian, life abundant and eternal is literally all about the worship of God and how such worship steers our lives and shapes our priorities.

In Joy,
Michael F. Bailey