Strangers no longer but pilgrims together.
This year’s Epiphany service was special in many ways: first of all, it fell on a Sunday, which meant we could celebrate it on the actual 12th day of Christmas, the 6th of January. Secondly, it was an all parish occasion; thirdly, our diocesan bishop, Bishop Stephen was celebrating and preaching to mark this as an important occasion, and lastly, and really the main focus of all these festivities, it was the inauguration of the coming together of St. Giles’ and the Romanian Orthodox congregations of Cambridge.
That this happened at Epiphany was truly symbolic, for it was at Epiphany that wise men from far beyond Palestine came to be part of the worshipping community gathered around the baby born in the manger. Epiphany is more than any other festival a feast of inclusion, a sign that God is the God of all, and has come that all may adore him.
This was very much felt throughout the service. Not only were there many members from St Augustine’s and St Luke’s, but also Revd Alan Ashton and quite a few of our friends from Castle Street and the Mission, and of course Father Dragos from the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The liturgy reflected this inclusiveness: the bishop preached a sermon which fitted in with the theme of coming together, the wise men were brought to the crib, and all the ministers of the different denominations gathered together there committed themselves to the work ahead of them in the following words of hope:
“We recognise one another as members of the One Church of Christ and pledge ourselves to be a visible presence of our Unity in this community.
We rejoice in the rich variety of our traditions of worship and wish to make use of the strengths of each church as we seek a deepening of our communion with Christ and with one another. We will work together and with all God’s people to spread the joy of the good News of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Saviour.”
The congregation responded with the following words:
“Lord God, we thank you for calling us into the company of those who trust in Christ and seek to obey his will. May your Spirit guide and strengthen us in mission and service to your world; for we are strangers no longer, but pilgrims together on the way to your Kingdom. Amen”
This service indeed marked the beginning of a new phase in the working out of God’s good news for all for us here at Castle