January 3, 2016 – Home, by another road

Epiphany Sunday   January 3, 2016   (Psalm 72, Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-6) Matthew 2:1-12      Home, by another road ********************************************************* Following a mysterious star that rises in the East – searching for an infant king. Magi from the East, on a journey of faith… Arriving now in Jerusalem. Looking for the child born king of the Jews. The star they’ve followed from it’s rising has brought them all the way here… But now they’re not sure exactly where the star is leading. So they ask directions. (Unusual men.) Asking first of the local ruler, King Herod; who has no idea, but is immediately fearful and anxious, though he hides this from the Magi…(Kings don’t like to hear someone else might claim their throne.) And we may wonder now about the wisdom of these wise men, telling their mission to Herod. Herod sends for the high priests and bible scholars of Israel – who do know, as it turns out, where the Messiah is to be born. They know the prophesy; they quote the prophet Micah. They let Herod (and the Magi) know the nearby village of Bethlehem, King David’s hometown, is the place where the Messiah is to be born… But the religious leaders seem utterly disinterested in seeing the Messiah for themselves. And all Jerusalem, with King Herod, is fearfully disturbed by the news… Thus the story of the Magi, bearing gifts for the Christ child, begins… A story some of us have heard since early childhood. A story told every year in churches that celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany meaning the revelation of Jesus as Messiah, not only of Israel, but also for all the nations. A message proclaimed by the prophet Simeon last week in the Jerusalem temple. But now the Magi are the first from afar to seek and find Jesus. The first in the gospels to be seen worshiping Jesus… And the story is at once so very familiar…(I can remember singing We three kings of Orient are back in first grade…) And yet still so very strange… As we consider… The bible never tells us these Magi are kings, and there’s no reason to think they are – except that Psalm 72 and Isaiah 60, that we read every year on Epiphany, both mention kings bearing gifts… Likewise, calling the Magi ‘wise men’ is a stretch, a guess at best – since the ancient word Magi included astrologers, dream interpreters, fortune-tellers, and Persian priests of various religions…But there’s no evidence for the word Magi meaning wise men – though bible translations have often gone that route, following traditions from outside the bible. And we have no idea how many Magi there were. The Eastern Orthodox church says a dozen. The Western church usually says three because of the three gifts the Magi bring. (Don’t worry, we’ll still sing We Three Kings and The First Noel… Which do get the most important parts of the story right…) And maybe the term ‘wise men’ actually does work – since the scribes and chief priests of Israel, supposedly trained in biblical wisdom, fail to see fulfillment of scripture happening, even virtually in front of their eyes – while foolish star-gazers from afar demonstrate genuine wisdom… as they journey earnestly seeking Jesus… Not many people travel today following a star...

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Week of January 3, 2016 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, Jan. 3rd: 11:00 AM Worship & Church School Monday, Jan. 4th: 6:00 PM Slow Church Discussion Group at the Goux residence Wednesday, Jan. 6th: 9:00 AM Horizons for Homeless Children Training (until 12pm) Saturday, Jan. 9th: 3:30 PM Girl Scouts (until 4:45pm) Sunday, Jan. 10th: 11:00 AM Worship & Church School THE 2016 ALTAR FLOWER CHART has been posted. Please sign up! SLOW CHURCH DISCUSSION GROUP: We will be meeting on January 4th to discuss chapter 4 of the book Slow Church by Christopher Smith and John Pattison. The discussion also includes a potluck dinner. Please bring a dish to share. Everyone is welcome to join at anytime. The Jan. 4th meeting is at the Goux residence. Please speak to Susan Goux for more info. PHOTOS NEEDED: Do you have any photos of recent church events? (Cookie Walk, Caroling, UMW Potluck, Thanksgiving Dinner, etc.) We’d love to have them! Please submit photos on a CD or email them to the church office. We like to have up-to-date photos on our website and Facebook page. Thank you! THE DEADLINE FOR THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER is Tuesday, January 19th. Please have any calendar dates and articles you would like to be included into the church office by 9:00am on that day. Thank you. BIBLE STUDY will restart on Thursday, January 21st, and the Psalms Discussion Group will restart on Sunday, January 24th. Saints and Singers Chorus begins rehearsing it’s Easter cantata, Jesus Changed Everything, on Thursday, January 7th, 7 PM at Bourne United Methodist Church hall. All voices are welcome. Please contact us at saintsandsingerschorus@yahoo.com or visit our website: sites.google.com/site/saintsandsingerschorus.  ...

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