January 5, 2014 – Epiphany Sunday

Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the Magi and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”       When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. *** Epiphany (Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:2-6 – these readings found below)  Matthew 2:1-12   Seeing into believing ********************* In the words of pastor-poet Howard Thurman – “When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock… (now–) The work of Christmas begins… Epiphany begins on the last of the twelve days of Christmas… and runs til Lent. Epiphany, the day and the season, is actually older than Christmas, and for several hundred years was a bigger event than Christmas in the church year. Epiphany, in the language of the church, means seeing, not just with the eye, not necessarily even with the eye…but seeing something of the mystery of God in the birth of Jesus…. the revelation of the incarnation… the coming of Christ into the world. The coming of the Magi is always the gospel reading for the first day of Epiphany. These visitors from afar have come to symbolize those who’ve been in the dark about God’s purposes… now coming to see… As if seeing – recognizing – matters perhaps as much as the fact of the holy birth. (When bright and beautiful snow is falling…snow on snow… What if no one notices this miracle of God’s creative grace, shining in silent splendor? Is the miraculous really happening, if nobody notices?) Maybe the miraculous is always miraculous? I’m not sure – but – I am pretty sure scripture is telling us – that our seeing of God’s grace...

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