let us adore

While the feast of Epiphany has been shifted to the Sunday in New Zealand and many other countries, January 6th, the Twelfth day of Christmas, is the traditional day for this feast which marks the conclusion of the Season of Christmas (and the last FFF post of this Advent /Christmas series).

378 years ago today, 6 January 1643, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed past and named a small group of islands about 50km north of Cape Reinga, the northern-most point of mainland New Zealand. Because the day was the 12th of Christmas, the feast of the Epiphany, he named the islands “Three Kings” in honour of the Magi’s visit to the Christ.

On my visit to Te Rerenga Wairua Cape Reinga I read along the track to the lighthouse the many information boards telling of the spiritual significance of this place, the stepping-off point for the spirit (wairua) of the dead on their journey to their eternal homeland.

And then one notice telling of Tasman’s naming of the islands on the distant horizon: “According to tradition, three kings went searching for the spiritual leader of the age. The Epiphany was when they found him – the new-born baby Jesus.”

And here was I, a man living 2000 years later, many ages after that event, and about as far as one can get from Bethlehem, praying to the God who was that child, and singing with the Magi as I strolled back to my car “O come let us adore him…”

And remembering Pope Francis’ words on this feast last year:

As we begin the New Year, may we discover anew that faith demands worship. If we can fall on our knees before Jesus, we will overcome the temptation to set off on our own path. For worship involves making an exodus from the greatest form of bondage: slavery to oneself. Worship means putting the Lord at the centre, not ourselves. It is means giving things their rightful place, and giving the first place to God… Worship means going to Jesus without a list of petitions, but with one request alone: to abide with him.

38 Responses to "let us adore"
  1. Thank you for sharing the words of Pope Francis!
    Sad to hear that FFF is coming to an end. Remember your readers in your prayers Father. I wish it to be continued… If possible, once a week…
    May the Lord Almighty bless Fr. John more and more!
    Sincerely wish FFF during lent season too..

  2. Thank you Father John for your Advent reflections. I have looked forward on waking each morning to a new one to start the day. God bless you and your work and I’m sure those following your reflections overseas will find them of great comfort in this time of epidemic.

  3. Good morning Father John.
    Thank you for your weeks of Refections. During this Advent I received many Graces and I am extremely grateful. My children and grandchildren read your Reflections every day I sent them. I received many comments of love and thanks. You have reached the hearts of many during this time.
    I pray that 2021 is filled with hope love kindness respect and compassion for you.
    Once again I thank you for your time and energy in evangelising our world.
    Prayers in Christ

  4. What a beautiful scene.
    May we support each other on our journeys this year,
    Focussed like the three kings on seeking and seeing Jesus in everyone and everything

    Thanks John for the helpful reflections. Enjoy the space.

  5. I never knew! I’ve eaten much Kai Moana from around the Three Kings, but never knew how the Islands were named! Now I do… an Epiphany in itself, thank you Fr John.
    Enjoy your little bit of respite before Lent begins in a few weeks time and may God bless you for your beautiful reflections shared over this season.

  6. Thank you Fr John for leading us in an inspiring journey to seek and to find. May the Lord continue to bless you and each one of us as we travel onwards with hope and joy.

    I do hope you will continue to be with us even if it’s just once a week.

    Warm regards
    Muna Hallis

  7. Thank you John for your generosity in sharing your God given gift. Your Reflections are truly inspirational and obviously come from a heart longing to have Jesus at the centre. In appreciation Judith Anne

  8. Thank you Father John and God bless you for the inspirational reflections over the Advent/Christmas season. The words of Pope Francis help to focus me on what is important. May all your followers remain in the abiding love of our generous God.

  9. John, I have enjoyed the fff series on Advent, especially the visit to the Three Kings. Looking forward to the Advent series. God bless you for all your dedication to fff.

  10. Thank you Fr John. We’ve walked that track after a week motorbike ride from Christchurch, a fitting end to our Everest. Your posts are fantastic and I’ve thoroughly appreciated all the historical, geographical, artist, philosophical… references. I will miss these daily reads, might go back to the beginning and read again!

  11. One of my hopes this new year is to journey to Cape Reinga and to the group of Islands northern-most point of mainland Aotearoa.

    I was enlightened by your awe-inspiring creative reflection today, on this, the Feast of Epiphany.

    * Thank you, John, and my Food for Faith Companions, for consolidating my belief and values that our lives have in-depth meaning and purpose

    * Thank you for reminding me that my inner Spirit is strong, resilient, and infinite

    * Thank you for offering me each day the gift of courage and encouragement to listen to my ‘higher self’ and to follow my dreams and hopes – the call of the Holy Spirit

    This morning I offer a prayer of profound Gratitude that we too have been gifted again this Feast of Epiphany with the ‘Islands of the Three Kings’ … Faith, Hope and Love. + + +

    Blessings aplenty.

  12. Thank you so much for the daily gifts this season.
    A little ordinary time now before our next Lenten season.

  13. Thank you so much for the daily gifts this season.
    A little ordinary time now before our next Lenten season.

  14. Beautiful. Te Rerenga Wairua Cape Reinga so far from Bethlehem and yet the difference and time and space is like nothing. Thanks again for your reflections during this Advent-Christmas time. They leave us singing too.

    • I am finding, as I grow old, that my prayer is increasingly becoming, simply, worship praise and thanks, and just experiencing God’s presence.
      Thank you John for this reflection, and for all of your Advent/Christmas reflections, which have been so inspirational.

  15. Thank you Father John for leading us through Advent all the time preparing us for Jesus coming. Indeed it was a Blessed and peaceful Christmas for me and family. Prayers for you and your Ministry going forward.

  16. Thank you Fr John for helping to lead me (and others) to many ‘aha’ moments during this journey through Advent & Christmastide and then gently guiding us through the more challenging moments.
    “Worship means going to Jesus without a list of petitions, but with one request alone: to abide with him.“
    May the Lord continue to bless you abundantly in this wonderful ministry.

  17. Thank you Father John for your time & inspiration. I am humbled with the Love & faith of all here in New Zealand

  18. I endorse all the above comments! You have been a source of inspiration to a “huge congregation!” You have reminded us all of so many gifts from the dear Lord and have emphasised the love we give and the love we receive! In the end it’s all about love! May our loving God bless and protect you!

  19. Hi Fr John
    It was such a delight when your Food for Faith reflections popped back into my in box for Advent and I have appreciated them greatly. Often, they have provided an island of calm in my day. A great blessing!
    Go well and God Bless!
    Very many thanks

  20. Jesus” is so, at the centre of
    Your heart,Fr John, to be
    Able to spiritually feed us,
    as you have.
    I have received FFF,with joy,
    Calming the storms,the
    Weariness,and sometimes difficulty life brings, spiritual
    Food “keeps us going”
    Food for the soul.
    GOD Bless your days,
    For sharing “HIS gifts”
    In our daily life.Fr John.

  21. I never knew this fact about the “Three Kings Islands”. It is wonderful that the Christian meaning is explained for people to read. I have been to North Cape and learned about the Maori legend of the spirits departing from Cape Reinga, down the pohutukawa roots to their homeland of Hawiki. A beautiful story. I will share this post with my friends on facebook. Thank you Father John.

  22. Thanks for the reflections. It would be great for them to be daily I am looking forward to LENT already

  23. Thank you, Father John. Your Advent messages are so deeply thoughtful and inspirational bringing us the spirit of Christmas into our hearts. May God bring you His special blessings. You are alway in my prayers. Pax & Bonum

  24. Thank you so much Fr John. I read this post late tonight as my beloved and faith-filled sister Trish is about to experience her own epiphany of all epiphanies – her journey into the living arms of Jesus..

  25. Fr. John, sincere thanks in bringing Jesus into our midst. May we keep our focus on him and him alone in 2021. Many blessings to you and all in our FFF family.

  26. Thank you for this reflection. A friend sent it to me as she knew I had just visited Cape Reinga this week – actually on the 6th January. It is spectacular and a beautiful reminder of the gift of creation we have been given

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