Observing The Festival of The Epiphany of Our Lord

I haven’t mentioned cricket much lately. 😉 As I write, the 4th Ashes Test has just begun in
Sydney. When you read this, the outcome will be known. So you know the outcome of which I
don’t know. I can guess and hope about the outcome. As the game progresses the outcome
might become clearer – but one of the joys of sport is a ‘surprise ending’ or a battle right
down to the last moment. If I declare a winner now,
you will know the moment you read this whether I am
right or wrong. (By the way, if you’re a cricket fan and

like to see some history, check out the recent Bangla-
desh v New Zealand First Test scorecard – there’s

lots of history in the making there!)
In January 1980 Australia played the West Indies in
the Third Test of 3 and lost the game by 408 runs and

lost the series 2-0. I was there – but not there – be-
cause it was my first job in Adelaide – pulling beer in

the scoreboard bar on the hill. When you read this
you can check if you want to who won and whether I
was actually there. Ok, the cricket result is rather easy
to check and checking my whereabouts then more difficult but not impossible.
In the late 1960s I was my primary school’s cricket team’s wicketkeeper and we played in a
local schools competition. I don’t remember any results but I do remember the occasional
catch and the time I was injured when a batsman tried a hook shot from a spinner and the
only thing he hit was my knee as I was crouching next to the wicket! I think no one who reads
this will have known this piece of news. Is it the truth? You can choose to believe me or you
can suspend judgement and do some checking or a type of both (trust me until the evidence
is in and then decide). Checking something quite esoteric over 50 years ago won’t be one
click on the internet but it won’t be impossible to do.
I write lots! I speak lots! Not just about cricket and not just about current events. I talk about
faith and life now – which is 2022 – but also about a person in history – Jesus of Nazareth
whom the world recognises – he did exist – and the world accepts that he was crucified and
died and buried. The big issue is what happened next and how the tomb became empty. It
would be quite simple in the days following – years also, even decades – to check the story
about Jesus – to go to people and places and do the research. We must never think we are
more sophisticated than past generations – though we do have more technology and
knowledge now. I believe people know when truth is truth and lies are lies – and the accounts
of Jesus are told and written because his strange life only made sense when the light of an
empty tomb shone back over it.
The first half of every Church Year (Advent to Pentecost) is devoted to Jesus and the strange

interplay between humanity and divinity. When Jesus lived he was the strange one – a hu-
man being like us but then he’d say something or do something and then people weren’t sure
whether he was like us after all. The story of the Magi visiting reveal
this mystery even as Jesus is a toddler. Later his talking about his
Father and suggesting he is divine got him strung up. But Jesus’
resurrection gives us clarity that he is Immanuel – God with us – and
our salvation and new life happen because of his cross. And this
story could be checked for decades afterwards. Even now when
people check, what they discover is the ‘surprise ending’ – Jesus
isn’t ‘back there’ in history – Jesus meets them – us! – now in 2022.